Robots hired to fill server positions in Florida

CareerSource Palm Beach County says the leisure and hospitality sectors are still down about 4,000 workers since the inception of the coronavirus pandemic. As restaurant operators struggle with staffing, one fast-casual restaurant in Boca Raton is turning to robot servers.
Posted at 8:42 PM, Jan 12, 2022

BOCA RATON, Fla. (WPTV) — As restaurant operators struggle with staffing, restaurants in Boca Raton, Florida, are turning to robot servers.

"Bella" is a robot at the fast-casual Asian bowl concept called Eat District in Boca Raton, Florida.

"Hello, Your food is here," the robot said to a table.

"It helps greats the customer, it helps run the food," said Louis Grayson, who operates several Asian eateries in Palm Beach County. "It can even seat customers and it even sings happy birthday."

The demand for collaborative robots, known as “COBOTS," is surging.

"Due to, like, the labor shortage, it really does help us with a little bit more, like a helping hand," said Grayson.

Bella's attendance record is perfect.

"Luckily the robot never calls out sick," said Grayson. However, he admitted that the robot may need time off for system updates.

At Eat District, Bella is more of a food runner.

At The Sea Asian Kitchen, also in Boca Raton, Grayson has given that robot more responsibilities.

"Placing all the plates and everything on there and runs it to the dishwasher," he said.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said operators have told them that robots cut down on costs and "they have proven to be reliable."

The robots cost over $10,000.

"We thought about it and we thought, you know, from that $10,000 to extra helping hand is worth every penny," Grayson said.

This story was originally reported by T.A. Walker on