At your service: St. Louis restaurant hires robot to help wait tables

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV) - The new employee at Walnut Grill in Sunset Hills didn’t need much training. A little programming did just fine. The new robot serving assistant started on the job a few weeks ago.

“It was immediate impact on the first day, you could tell,” said owner Eric Vogel. Vogel said they looked into a robot as a way to deal with a staffing shortage.

Like many businesses, the South County restaurant struggled to fill certain positions, including food runners and bussers.

“You have a position you’re unable to hire for no matter what you do, and this is actually helping to assist the rest of the team on getting the job done,” said Vogel.

The robot is made by Bear Robotics and costs restaurants around $30 a day. It’s used across the U.S. at restaurants, casinos, stadiums and senior living facilities.

In the kitchen at Walnut Grill, the manager places the food on the trays, enters the table number, and the robot takes it away. It’s programmed with a layout of the restaurant and has technology to avoid people and misplaced chairs.

Customers can be seen smiling and snapping pictures of their unusual server.

“I thought it was awesome. It helps them out, it brings out the dinner fast,” said Mary Ann Mayer.