KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You’ll likely notice something different when you open the door and step inside Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop in Kansas City’s Crossroads District.
The popular spot is now employing a robot named “Servi.”
It’s the dual-tray robot is a creation of a company called Bear Robotics from Redwood City, California.
Bear Robotics said it designed Servi to help staff serve customers and bus tables more efficiently. That’s exactly what’s happening at Lulu’s, according to manager Jason Boscar.
“No more carrying the trays out, running the food really. It lets them [servers] stay out and talk to their tables, be in their sections,” Boscar said. “It’s about making life better, getting hot food out faster, allowing employees to interact with customers.”
Bear Robotics said its goal is to make Servi affordable to even small businesses that are struggling to hire enough staff to stay open right now.
The robot costs about $30 a day, or about $2.50 an hour, based on a 12-hour day, according to the company.
“It’s cost effective, it doesn’t cost a lot and it really amplifies what your team can do,” Boscar said.
He said employees simply hit a button to tell Servi which table to go to, and the robot is on the move.
Bear Robotics is working with national restaurant chains such as Chili’s, Denny’s, House of Blues, and even Marriott.
Lulu’s said it also hopes to have Servi at it’s new location in Overland Park when it opens in January, but customers probably won’t meet the robot at Lulu’s location in Westwood.
“Servi doesn’t go outside yet and our Westwood location does a huge patio business. So for that location it’s probably not really a thing,” Boscar said.
Lulu’s Crossroads location is running a contest, allowing customers to help choose a permanent name for the robot. The new name will be announced July 15.
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