“Hello and welcome,” the robots say — in a voice best described as pre-programmed. Their duties will include greeting customers, serving drinks and dishes and returning used glasses and crockery. It’s unclear whether diners will be expected to tip.
One thing the robots will certainly do is see that social distancing rules are respected. “We will use them to make sure the five feet we need during the corona crisis sticks,” Leah Hu said. “I’ve had negative reactions,” she said, “such as saying it makes it impersonal.” But it may prove just what customers crave when Dutch restaurants are allowed to reopen Monday as lockdown restrictions are further eased.
In a stab at quasi-human panache, one robot wears a chiffon scarf around its neck….
And in the southern Zeeland province, the Hus don’t want to hear any complaints about the robots robbing young people of a job. They say it’s hard enough anyway to find staff in a rural region without any major city close by… “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,” she said.
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