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Florida Restaurant Chain Introduces Robot Waiters

(Patrick Carroll, Foundation for Economic Education) With the labor market in rough shape, restaurant owners across the country have been forced to find new and creative ways to run their businesses. Many restaurants have changed their hours and services, while others have offered hiring bonuses in a desperate attempt to attract workers. But while these may be good ideas, one restaurant chain in Florida has been trying out a completely different approach.

“Robot waiters are proving to be beneficial for one Florida restaurant chain whose CEO claims they’re leading to larger tips for human servers,” Fox Business reports.

The chain, called Sergio’s Restaurant, is optimistic about keeping the robots long term. As president and CEO Carlos Gazitua explains, “With robotics, what we’ve been able to do is basically run the food back and forth so our wait staff has been able to spend a little bit more time with our guests, getting to four to five tables.”

According to Gazitua, the robots have improved the restaurant’s service efficiency by 20 to 35 percent.

“The guests love it because they see their server more,” Gazitua continued. “They’re able to have a better hospitality experience, manicure that table, and that’s a big win for the server who’s actually making more and working less.”

At $1,000 a month, the robots aren’t cheap. But they save servers from walking 100 ft per table, and that saved time can add up quickly. The robots can also interact with customers, even learning kids’ names and singing songs.

In all, it’s an investment that seems to be paying off for the customers, staff, and owners alike.

Of course, the primary motivation for this initiative was profit. Like all other businesses, Sergio’s Restaurant is looking for ways to cut costs so it can make as much money as possible.

But notably, this cost-cutting measure didn’t come at the expense of their employees’ wages. If anything, their employees are actually making even more because of the extra tips.

[Read more…]

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