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Who's Dishing up your Food at your Favorite Restaurant-- a Robot Who Will Dance or Tell Jokes with you?!?

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 26, 2019 13:43

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What a novel idea-- restaurant servers who will never give you a poor attitude or inefficient service. Just ask Pepper the robot, the latest artificial intelligence staffer at the Enjoy Budapest Cafe!

Anyone who’s gone out to eat has experienced it- that snappy server with a crappy attitude. Poor service can be dished out at a fast food joint or a 5- star restaurant- it’s egalitarian. It doesn’t matter if you’re nice as you can be to that person who offers less than stellar treatment. If that waiter/waitress woke up on the wrong side of the bed or has had a particularly long day of rotten customers—he or she is determined to take their venom out on you. There may not be much you can do about it other than to eat crow or not leave a tip.

However, let’s be fair. The public is not a walk in the park to deal with. People can be so darned mean and impatient. I had a social worker friend back in New York who told me emphatically one day after work, “I hate everyone.”  Her career exposed her to the public on a daily basis, hour after hour—and those she had in her office typically were not having an easy time.

There might be a solution in the future-- so you know you can always dine out without the worry of getting a fistful of attitude from a disgruntled employee. The ‘robot revolution’ is giving us an alternative. You can check it out the next time you’re in Hungary – getting hungry!

The aptly named 'Enjoy Budapest Cafe' has robots that serve food and drink and can chat with you, dance with your kids and even tell jokes. That’s what I call ‘real intelligence' when it comes to marketing and satisfying customers.

The café, located in Budapest, is the brainchild of the IT company E-Szoftverfejlesztő. The company wants to familiarize customers with robot staff members.

The receptionist at the restaurant is named Pepper and she can chat or dance with you if you’re in the mood. Even Pepper apparently had trouble hearing orders over some of the loud customers, so the Japanese company Softbank had to modify her programming so she could hear better. Pepper has the ability to analyze expressions and voice tones.Her price tag is surprisingly reasonable- $1,931 at Softbank Mobile stores.

Pepper is a hit with diners because she is so accessible. But other robots have fixed routes to deliver orders and customers are advised to keep out of their way.

A concern, naturally, is that robots could replace humans and put them out of jobs. Not in this case. The owner of the café Tibor Csizmadia said, "We actually employ twice as many people as before, because to operate 16 to 20 robots from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. we need to have IT specialists in the background.”

Well, not everyone is suited to be IT. But it might not be a bad idea for kids looking into possible career paths to train in that field. Otherwise, Pepper or a robot just like her just might come along and dance her way into your job.

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 26, 2019 13:43

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