Restaurant in Netherlands will use robot waiters to serve and greet patrons while complying with with social-distancing rules
- The restaurant will deploy the bots for serve, collect dishes, and greet patrons
- They may help maintain social distance requirements as the country reopens
- Dutch restaurants are now allowed to reopen with a max of 30 customers
A restaurant in the Netherlands is turning to robots to help serve customers while still complying with social-distancing guidelines.
According to the Associated Press, restaurant-owner Shaosong Hu is deploying the robotic waiters at his restaurant in the Dutch beachside town of Renesse to pick up dishes, serve food, and greet customers with ‘hello and welcome’ once the restaurant reopens this week.
‘We will use them to make sure the 1.5 meters (5 feet) we need during the corona crisis sticks,’ Leah Hu, Shaosong’s daughter said.
Leah Hu demonstrates the use of robots for serving purposes or for dirty dishes collection, as part of a tryout of measures to respect social distancing and help curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at the family’s Royal Palace restaurant in Renesse, south-western Netherlands
While the Hus say the bots have received some negative feedback – namely that it makes the restaurant experience impersonal – it hasn’t stopped them from trying to imbue the bots with more hospitality.
The pair bots will have some personal flair, including a scarf and are even awaiting two human names, the selection of which is currently the subject of a competition on Instagram.
‘We don’t have a favorite yet. But the suggestion of Ro and Bot is out. We want to give them a normal name,’ said Leah Hu.
Dutch restaurants have been hard hit by the crisis and have been closed for over two months.
As of Monday, they will be allowed to reopen but with a maximum of 30 customers. That will force some layout adaptations in the Royal Palace where the robots´ programmed floorplan may have to be changed at the last moment.
The Hu’s say they don’t worry about the bots displacing jobs, claiming it’s already hard to find staff in a rural region without any major city close by to begin with.
‘They help us with the work we do,’ said Leah Hu.
‘We are often busy and cleaning tables and the robots give us an extra hand… It also frees up the human staff for some more personal contact… We are not disappearing. We are still here. They will always need people in this industry.’
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