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Brief Published: 6 Aug 2012

Restaurant Staffed by Robots


A restaurant in Harbin, north-east China, has introduced a staff of robots to serve customers. The 18 robots are capable of cooking, serving and conversing in basic Chinese, and are equipped with motion detectors.

An usher robot greets customers on arrival, then cooking robots prepare the food, and a waiter robot, which runs along tracks on the floor, carries dishes to the table. Singing robots and robot dogs are on hand to keep diners entertained.

The robots are managed by staff in a computer room and can run continuously for up to five hours before being recharged.

Designed by Harbin Haohai Robot Company, the dining experience cost five million yuan (US$786,000) to implement, with each robot costing 200,000 to 300,000 yuan (US$31,000 to $47,000).

This is not the first restaurant to use robots as staff. A ramen restaurant in Japan introduced robot chefs in 2009, and a restaurant staffed by Star Wars-inspired robots opened in Jinan, China in 2010.

Guest Services Go Mobile explores how evolving technology is affecting the service industries.

Read more about the future of robotics in Stylus’ report Artificial Intelligence: Man and Machine.