Here's Why These Restaurants Just Fired Their Futuristic Robot Waiters

Here's Why These Restaurants Just Fired Their Futuristic Robot Waiters

Trend-setting restaurants in China are discovering that customer service somehow isn't the same without humans.

By Tamara Palmer

The more that life's employable tasks get automated by robots, the more it looks like hyper-competent manmade creations will replace people in the workforce altogether. Luckily, efforts to get rid of human employees in restaurants seem to be running into some hurdles in China.

Shanghaiist, citing a Chinese-language newspaper report from Workers Daily, revealed that two restaurants in Guangzhou have closed and a third has cut its automated workforce down to just one robot. While the gimmick of a robot waitstaff initially attracted customers, the robots were eventually pink-slipped because they're clumsy, dropping dangerously hot or messy items like soup. Also, it turns out they can't interact with people and would often just break down altogether. (That reminds us of one or two humans we've met.)

Taobao, a Chinese auction website similar to eBay, has had dozens of robot waiters up on the auction block. According to Tech in Asia, 170 robots were for sale on the site in November, but none had sold as of that article's press time.

Still, robot staffers might be coming to American restaurants very soon. And it might not just be to wait tables: Robots in China have also been tasked with cooking and performing for guests. Eater reports that Carls Jr. is one of the big food companies stateside that has considered using robots. We wonder if execs will get this memo before all hell breaks loose.

To see robot chefs in action, check out this video via Eater:

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