Service with a smile also comes with an electronic voice at the Dalu Robot restaurant, where the hot-pot meals are not as famous yet as the staff that never loses its patience and never takes tips.
A customer collects a drink from a robot waiter cycling around a restaurant in Jinan, China. Each robot has a motion sensor that tells it to stop when someone is in its path. The restaurant, which opened this month in Jinan in northern Shandong province, is touted as China’s first robot hot-pot eatery, where robots resembling Star Wars droids circle the room carrying trays of food in a conveyor belt-like system.
More than a dozen robots operate in the restaurant as entertainers, servers, greeters and receptionists. Each robot has a motion sensor that tells it to stop when someone is in its path so customers can reach for dishes they want.
The service industry in China has not always kept up with the country’s rapid economic growth, and restaurant service can be disappointing. But customers in the Dalu restaurant praised the robots.
“They have a better service attitude than humans,” said Li Xiaomei, 35. “Humans can be temperamental or impatient.”
The robots, Li said, “just keep working and moving round and round the restaurant all night.”
As customers enter the dimly lit restaurant, a female robot decorated with batting eyelashes greets people with an electronic “welcome.”
During the meal, diners are entertained by a dancing and talking robot that looks like a mannequin with a dress, flapping its arms around in a stiff motion.
The restaurant’s owner, Zhang Yongpei, said he hopes to develop robots with human-like qualities that serve customers at their table and can walk up and down stairs.
I guess “The Stepford Wives” was more reality than fiction.