A small Oregon town is divided after a local restaurant brings in a robotic waiter, with some customers embracing the strange sight and others recoiling in fear.
Sherry Andrus, owner of The Cazadero restaurant in Estacada, Oregon, recently hired the robot named Plato after struggling to find enough human servers to keep the floor fully staffed, she said. . FoxNews in an interview published on Saturday.
Andrus was delighted to introduce Plato to customers in a Facebook post in April – but was surprised when some customers reacted with fear and anger.
“NO THANK YOU,” one person wrote, another swearing “I’ll never go back there again” and another asking “why on earth!?”
In person, the reaction was less hostile, though Andrus told Fox News that at least one restaurant patron insisted he didn’t want the robot near his family, a request she accepted.
A small Oregon town is divided after a local restaurant uses a robotic waiter, with some customers embracing the strange sight and others recoiling in fear
However, the reaction was not entirely negative, and some responded to the Facebook post with enthusiasm.
“If he has facial recognition, he can bring me the beer of my choice when I sit down.” That would be cool,” one person speculated.
“People like to complain. Give poor Plato a chance! another wrote.
Others made light-hearted jokes about “Skynet”, the malevolent artificial intelligence from the Terminator film series, or joked that the robot takes tips from the piles.
Andrus says a key misconception is that Plato replaces human servers. It’s not, she said — the robot will simply allow its overworked employees to quickly cover more tables by taking over food delivery and clearing dirty dishes.
“What was so frustrating was the misconception that an AI was replacing people’s jobs,” she told Fox. “The waiter positions, the bartender positions are still there. It’s just a tool to help them do their job better and be more efficient for customers.
Many responses on Facebook revolved around tipping, and the restaurant responded by saying it hoped customers wouldn’t skimp on tips for human servers.
“Our servers will be able to provide a better experience because they won’t be pulled in a million different directions.” It would make me sad if they weren’t recognized for their service,’ the restaurant said in response to a comment.
Developed in Paris and manufactured in Europe, Plato was unveiled by United Robotics Group in November at a food show in Orlando
Sherry Andrus, owner of The Cazadero restaurant in Estacada, Oregon, recently rented the robot named Plato after struggling to find enough human servers
The restaurant is in Estacada, a town of about 3,700 people about a 45-minute drive from Portland
Andrus bought The Cazadero in 2018 and since then has faced rising food and labor costs, including Oregon’s minimum wage, which is now $14.20 per hour and has no exemption for tipped workers.
She also struggled to find workers in Estacada, a town of approximately 3,700 inhabitants located 45 minutes by car from Portland.
“You already have a small pool to work with,” she said of the job market. “The fact that we are in a rural area makes it even more difficult.”
Plato is made by United Robotics Group, which calls it the next generation of service robots or “cobiotes” designed to support humans across multiple industries.
Developed in Paris and manufactured in Europe, Plato was unveiled by the company in November at a food show in Orlando.
Plato is an “autonomous mobile platform” designed to help servers deliver food and drink and bus tables, while responding to unexpected situations and obstacles, according to the company.
“The architecture used in the development of Plato’s ‘neural engine’ is designed for seamless updates to adapt to rapidly changing environments,” said Xavier Lachérade, Managing Director of Aldebaran Robotics, part of the United Robotics group.
“A full configuration can be done without any technical knowledge in less than an hour by simply pushing the cobiot manually or configuring it remotely on a tablet, and changes can be applied easily.”