Robot helps servers at Madison barbecue restaurant

There’s a new server bussing tables and it’s not human
Robot helps Madison restaurant during staff shortage
Robot helps Madison restaurant during staff shortage(Marcus Aarsvold)
Published: Apr. 24, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Doc’s Smokehouse in Madison is piloting a robot that delivers food to customers from the kitchen.

BBQ-1 is the name of the robot that’s helping staff serve their patrons. ‘She’ takes food from the kitchen and then meets waiters and waitresses at the table to put the plates in front of customers.

As several restaurants around the country struggle with staff shortages, Doc’s Smokehouse decided to try using help from artificial intelligence.

The Madison location’s general manager Jimmy Hall said the team was skeptical at first, but three days later BBQ-1 has proven quite helpful.

”I am not as forward thinking,” Hall said. “I like to call myself the analog specialist on the staff but I definitely would have never thought that I would be working with a robot on my staff.”

Hall said BBQ-1′s name is inspired by the popular Star Wars robot BB-8.

She greets customers with her deliveries and knows how to find her way around the restaurant.

It takes two hours to charge BBQ-1 for a 10-hour work day.

Hall said she isn’t meant to replace servers or the human experience of dining out.

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