Ketty The Robotic Waiter Is At Your Service

Likely, when you encounter the word "robot" the first thing that comes to mind is a metal, humanoid that you've seen in the movies. Through the ever progressing tech industry, robots are becoming more popular within the hospitality industry. The question is, is your hospitality venue prepared to introduce robotic waiters?


Who is KettyBot?

KettyBot is one of SPARK Epos' four purpose-built robots provided to the UK market by Pudu Robotics. Ketty was produced to be a delivery and reception robot with features such as greetings and customer escorting, and the capability of carrying products on its two trays and one bowl. The key feature of KettyBot is the ability to recharge at a docking station and its large front facing advertising screen which can be used to advertise delicious menu items, restaurant offers, or even local events/information. In a recent development Ketty's functionality has expanded to allow customers to be escorted to their table and have the ability to place an order via the front screen then pay for their order on a handheld payment device stored on the back tray. The order will be sent to the restaurant's other devices and will be prepared and delivered to the customer.


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How Does Ketty Take Someone's Order?

The new function of ordering via the KettyBot is quick and easy to use. Here's how;

  1. The customer will enter the venue and be escorted to a table by the KettyBot.
  2. Once the customer is seated, the bot's screen will be at an eye-level height where the customer will now be able to view the menu. The customer will add items to their order whilst also seeing visual upsells of other menu items.
  3. Now the order is placed, Ketty rotates 180 degrees where the customer will take the SPARK PAY PDQ device provided and pay for their meal. 
  4. When the transaction is successfully completed the customers will place the handheld device back on the tray and Ketty will rotate back to face the customer. Once done, the customer will select 'Done' and Ketty will return to its station.

Below is a video showing these steps in action.


Will Introducing Robotic Staff Affect The Human Employees?

Many people will be worrying about robots replacing humans in the hospitality sector but that's not the case. Introducing robots into a hospitality business isn't to replace all of the staff but is a solution to the many problems faced.

In a post Covid world the availability of staff has taken a heavy fall for various reasons. With the introduction of robots that have been specifically designed to do the tedious jobs around venues, staff are now available to do more important tasks. A hospitality business can implement robots into its venue starting from £8 a day which is a cost-effective solution rather than solely relying on human staff who come with the disadvantage of holidays, sickness and training costs.


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Robot Waiters: The Positives

In a post pandemic world, Covid is still an existing issue and the ramifications of Covid has left many people still seeking contactless interactions. With the use of robots in a hospitality venue, customers will not only have a contactless ordering solution but can also receive their food through a contactless method.

Automating food service through robot waiters will also increase reliability. When taking an order there is often the added problem of miscommunication, by using robots the customer can input their own order from the comfort of their table. The order then gets sent straight to the kitchen staff, reducing the likelihood of human error.

Finally, robot waiters may actually bring in business. Having a venue which is aesthetically pleasing, and has Instagram worthy food is often a talking point between customers and an enticing reason to go to a venue. By including a robotic waiter in your staff, customers will want to have the experience and will most likely take lots of pictures and videos to post on social media - which is the best method of free marketing.


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Robot Waiters: The Challenges

Just like all technology there are some obstacles to using robot waiters, inevitably doubts will occur. One major challenge often faced with upgrading and introducing new technology into a business is the complication of technology malfunctioning. In the unlikely scenario that a robot decides to "take a break" protocols are in place to get it back up and running ASAP to ensure no profits are lost.

Whilst most customers will enjoy the experience, others (particular older generations) may find ordering their food via a robot a difficult task. However, SPARK robots are very user friendly and easy to use and if a customer is opposed to using one then a human waiter can easily step in and take their order.

An important talking point is the lack of human contact that may occur with contactless ordering and service. However, staff aren't being replaced they're simply being assisted and will still be available in venues to provide service where needed. 


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The Decision of Introducing Robotic Waiters

With the ever expanding technology industry, robots are the future and in recent years they've proven to be the solution to hospitality problems generated from Covid. World Buffet Cosmo have just opened their new restaurant in St Enoch, Glasgow, and added BellaBot, KettyBot and HolaBot to their staff. Within two weeks of their opening, visitors have shared videos of the SPARK bots that have generated nearly 800k viewsRobotics have been successfully accepted in various countries across the globe in peoples day-to-day lifestyle. Some of the largest corporates today are adopting robots to cut costs and enhance service. However, the decision to introduce robot waiters (or not!) is a difficult one that has to be made by each hospitality owner. This trend may not be for everyone but it may be time to introduce your hospitality business to robot waiters!


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