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Are Robot Waiters the Future?

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A BellaBot robot delivers food and drinks to a table in the Noodle Topia restaurant in Madison Heights, MI.

Many think robot waiters are the solution to the restaurant industry’s labor shortages; sales have been growing rapidly in recent years.

Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP

Many people envision robot waiters as a solution to the food service industry's labor shortages, with tens of thousands deployed in dining rooms globally.

Some experts predict the technology will revolutionize the restaurant business, while others consider it a gimmick with limited capabilities.

Robot waiters are nevertheless expanding, with U.S. developer Bear Robotics expecting to have 10,000 Servi units deployed by year's end in the U.S. and overseas, while China's Pudu Robotics counts more than 56,000 robots in use worldwide.

Michigan State University's Karthik Namasivayam says perhaps 30% of restaurants ultimately will be staffed by humans, while the rest will deploy more automation in kitchens and dining rooms, especially as technology costs fall.

From Associated Press
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