Robbie the robot is at your service in two restaurants on Vancouver Island

Robbie greets customers at the front and will escort them to their tables.

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Robots with cat faces are collaborating at two Vancouver Island restaurants to deliver food and beverages to customers at a time when the hospitality industry is desperate for staff.


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Customers love the devices, which can be programmed to perform a multitude of tasks. They sing happy birthday, with multicolored lights flashing, and they will greet customers.

The robot is cute. The BellaBot model has big round eyes, a smiling mouth and will change her expression. Get close to him and the robot will automatically move to avoid a collision.

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Restaurants appreciate the efficiency of robots because they reduce the amount of trips staff make to and from the kitchen.

Clair Zhang, co-owner of Nanaimo’s Driftwood restaurant, 4711 Rutherford St., said Friday that Bella Holt (the robot’s nickname) is “really helpful.”

Robots also function as marketing tools for companies as they emerge from pandemic restrictions and want to fill their positions.


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Bella is primarily used to transport takeout orders from the kitchen to customers at the front door of the Driftwood restaurant. The packed meals are transported on the shelves of the robot.

Driftwood obtained Bella in the summer under a three-year lease-to-own program with Edmonton supplier GreenCo Robots, which imports them from manufacturers in China.

At Mantra, 1015 Fort St., owner Dharmendar Sohal said he bought the robot because the restaurant is understaffed. “This is a good option for us. … It’s a good helping hand. “

Customers rejoice when they see Robbie the robot and enjoy interacting with him, especially young people, he said. When children pet the robot, it smiles, its eyes roll, and it meows.

Sohal is likely to get a second robot for the other Mantra location at 3480 Tillicum Rd.


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He hopes that a new version, capable of receiving orders, will be available soon.

Fort Street Mantra manager Dharna Sohal said Robbie is attracting a lot of new customers. They share videos of the robot in action as it delivers food and drinks to tables and shares with their families.

“When we are busy it is like an extension of me. I can do two things at the same time, ”said Dharna Sohal.

It is programmed to know tables by number. Its sounds and volume can be changed. Robbie greets customers at the front and will escort them to their tables.

The robot charges overnight and can run for 12 hours on its battery.

When Robbie silently approached Ian Reid’s table, it was easy to understand what to do. On the top shelf was an order of naan bread, which lit up.


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“You just take your item off the shelf and then press a button on its face that says ‘done.’ Then the eyes go up again, he smiles and leaves. “

The “face” will disappear sometimes, depending on what you are doing.

Liang Yu, owner of GreenCo Robots, said he shipped about 30 BellaBot robots across Canada and has a waiting list for 10 more. “There is definitely a good demand in the market.”

The first one in BC went into service at a Richmond hot pot restaurant.

Depending on the model, the robots cost just under $ 20,000 and up to $ 30.00.

The lease-to-own program costs less than $ 1,000 per month for three years, he said.

Robots advance without colliding with people or furniture through the use of location and mapping technology.

They can be used for events like business mixes because robots can roll around a room carrying food and drinks. A robot will stop every time someone touches it, Yu said.

A study of a restaurant robot found that it made about 500 trips in a day and delivered about 750 meals, Yu said.

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