Planet China

Robotic service

Serving staff at restaurants often seem to go through the motions, only bothering to show a little spark once the meal nears its conclusion and the potential tip is in the offing.

But at a restaurant in Harbin the service is robotic by design. According to the 21CN Business Herald, the Robot Restaurant is also proving a hit with diners. The newspaper says that the novelty is a factor – after all, who wouldn’t be happy with the greeting: “Hello, earthmen. Welcome to our robot restaurant”. While you wait, there is entertainment from a robot that jigs and sings, and more intriguingly, the restaurant even claims that the chef is a robot specialising in dumplings and pasta. Although the locally-made robots cost as much as $47,000 each, their owner says that they are cheaper to employ over the long run than humans, once rising annual salaries, health insurance and paid vacations are factored in.

Forget foul-mouthed and showman chefs: if you want to see the future of dining, perhaps you should go to Harbin…


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