Serving robot finds work at Victoria restaurant

Serving robot finds work at Victoria restaurant
WatchThe newest employee at a Victoria restaurant doesn't mind working overtime, never complains, and the customers seem to love her. Mary Griffin reports.

Meet the newest employee at Victoria’s Mantra Restaurant — Robbie, a robot designed to deliver food to tables and pick up dirty dishes.

Manager Dharna Sohal is thrilled with the latest hire.

“She’s always on time, she’s always here. And she knows what to do, and where to go.”

Robbie is working the lunch shift, and is a big helping hand to Sohal.

“Usually for buffet I work alone. so she is very handy, so I can do two things at one time, and she kind of like is an extension of me,” Sohal said.

Right now, Robbie is programmed for single trips, but more will be added as she becomes more adept at navigating the room through a network of sensors.

Developed by GreenCo Robots, a Canadian high-tech company, a robot like Robbie costs about $37,000.

But as restaurants face a staffing crisis, more food service robots could be joining their ranks.

Jay Tranberg is a loyal customer, and helps with the programming of Robbie for the restaurant’s management.

“The benefits, of course, are that it can carry more than an average wait staff. It can go around and clean up when they don’t have to and short-handed.  So it really makes another employee, right? It makes more than two or three employees sometimes,” Kelly said.

And the novelty of having a robot in the room is paying off.

Sean Kelly runs a pub in Sidney, and sees how useful serving robots are.

“We could use it in the kitchen right now for some help,  and for larger restaurants on the floor it would be fantastic.”

As for Robbie’s colleague Sohal, he gives rave reviews for a job well done.

“She is a wonderful employee. As her manager, I love her.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the robot is the first of its kind employed by a restaurant on Vancouver Island.

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READ: Tofino businesses struggle to stay open amid staffing shortages

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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