Restaurants keep trying to use robots, with mixed results

Originally published at: Restaurants keep trying to use robots, with mixed results | Boing Boing


How much do you tip a robot?


You can modify this to help the disabled- use remotely driven units that are controlled by people with mobility issues. You get the robot at the restaurant, and you give a person who probably needs it a job.
Along with giving servers a better wage and more structured scheduling, that might close the gap.


I think you want to go low - tip them too much, and they fall over.

I’ll get my hat…


As far as I can tell, all of these waiter robots can do essentially one thing: travel along a set path while holding food

We had this in the 1970s.


Not enough waiters? No problem, I’m happy to submit my order via mobile device, and walk over to the kitchen to pick it up when the chef texts me to say it’s ready. Seriously.


I feel like this should be very intuitive for anyone who has even a sliver of experience with building/programming a robot and with preparing food. Food service is messy and chaotic; robots perform best in regimented environments. It’s an especially bad match.
Maybe the intuition is, like, because they get paid so little it must be low skill work and it’ll be easy to automate. But, you’d have a much better time automating away administrative tasks.

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The original Yo! Sushi branch in Soho, London had drinks service robots 20 years ago. They were basically little carts which rolled along painted lines. It complemented the conveyor belt rotation of the sushi plates, which was another novelty in London at the time though quite an old thing in Japan.

Is that a train? We used to have those for moving people around too, and well before the 1970’s. Yet here we are, dumping resources into the self-driving car fantasy.

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Its funny how they can make cars but can’t make a salad.

Yep! It was the old Hamburger Choo Choo in Huntington, Long Island, NY. You’d get your food delivered on a flatbed car pulled by Lionel trains.

We moved away to left-coast-landia when I was 7, but I clearly remember the place. It’s a cherished memory for any kid who grew up when it was around.


Go to Kansas City, and you can still experience food delivered by model train.

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Everything old is new again.

I remember going to this place as a kid and it sounds like they still haven’t solved any of the logistical problems that the 1980s robots had.


Restaurant trains were the first thing I thought of as well. We have a sushi train restaurant here, and of course sushi boat restaurants are common all over.

When you look at the short list of things these robots can actually do, they are glorified sushi boats.


Just as with real people.

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