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They Sing and Speak 50 Languages. Here's What Robot Waiters Look Like at a Southern California Restaurant

The staff at a Southern California restaurant now includes three exceptional servers, relieving their coworkers and serving customers.

They are Fatima, Elizabeth and Togo, three employees of the “I Can Barbecue” in Tustin, Orange County, who differ from the rest of the workers by an unusual characteristic: they are not human.

Yes, these efficient servers are robots.

The three robot waiters have been in the restaurant for three months and speak 50 languages, sing “Happy Birthday” and greet customers with phrases according to the occasion.

The robots have caused a sensation among customers, especially children, who like to look at and play with them, says Esat Karaaslan, owner of I Can Barbecue.

In addition to these three employees, Karaaslan has three more at other locations of his restaurant in Santa Ana and Irvine. All robots have the same names.

Robots save human employees time and effort, Karaaslan said. They are a complement to their coworkers – not a replacement.

“[Robots] walk almost 15,000 steps a day, between going to the table and coming back. It helps the employees a lot,” Karaaslan said.

The average number of steps taken by a human waiter is about 10,000.

The robots cannot answer specific questions about the menu — only a human can do that. That is why they are dedicated to bringing food to the table and removing the plates when the client finishes eating.

They relieve functions that would take time away from waiters.

“[They are a great help] to make the customer more satisfied and have the food faster,” said Samuel Valdivia, an “I Can Barbecue” employee who has worked in restaurants for more than 25 years.

“It gives you a better chance to read the tickets [orders] and put the food in so they can be brought to your table faster.”

“Electronic” employees only need to rest three hours a day, which is the time they need to recharge.

With staff shortages, many businesses are struggling to find the people they need to fill jobs. But today, many are opting to buy robots, like Fatima, Elizabeth and Togo.

At the end of 2021, U.S. companies registered a record number of automated jobs carried out by robots, which is equivalent to 29,000 robots and drones hired for the logistics and services industry.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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