Dutch Restaurant Employs Robot Waiters to Maintain Social Distance with Diners

Dutch Restaurant Employs Robot Waiters to Maintain Social Distance with Diners
Representative image of a robot waiter in a restaurant in Rapallo, Italy, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This cyber workforce minimises contact as restaurants re-open after over two months

Siddharth Ganguly
June 05 , 2020
05 Min Read

Dadawan, an Asian fusion restaurant in the district of Maastricht in the Netherlands, has added an unusual group of workers to their waitstaff. James, Amy, and Aker, as they are known, are robots that the restaurant is using to deliver drinks to patrons, minimising the trips the human staff of Dadawan have to make.

Additionally, the restaurant employs Jamie, the robot concierge, who greets customers and performs a quick skin temperature scan to determine whether or not they can enter, since a high temperature is a symptom of COVID-19. 

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Dadawan in Maastricht will be introducing the first ever robot waitstaff in the Netherlands when restaurants reopen on 01 June. Owner Danny Deng had been planning this change to his chain of restaurants for some time. Having already conducted extensive research abroad, his Maastricht restaurant chosen as the first location to role out the creative approach to COVID-19 #CoronaVirus pandemic social distancing regulations. We were given an exclusive preview of the newest members of the #DADAWAN team today. Jaime the concierge meets you at the door and takes a skin temperature scan. If you are showing no corona-esque symptoms you are given the green light and shown to your table. Waitstaff will take your order and when it is ready, Amy will bring it to your table. When it is time for clearing up, Akar will come along and customers can place their plates, bowls, glasses and cutlery for transportation to the kitchen. Deng: “We are deploying these robots for two reasons: to maintain the unique experience at DADAWAN, even when there are fewer people in the restaurants. In addition, this allows us to comply even better with the one and a half metre rule. This innovation will of course not change the personal touch within DADAWAN. Our staff are ready for the guests and to ensure compliance with all hygiene measures. Let's not forget that safety and health is always the most important thing for us. These robots are an extra touch within the 'new normal' that we will continue to apply in the event of success”. Reservations are required, these can be made on the Dadawan website. For Danny and many other restauranteurs, where restaurants this size can normally sit 170 covers and are now reduced to thirty, they are looking forward to reopening and finding a new way of connecting with their customers and earning a living. . . @dadawanfood

A post shared by News in English RTV Maastricht (@newsmaastricht) on May 27, 2020 at 4:31am PDT

The coronavirus lockdown in the country had kept restaurants shuttered since mid-March, allowing them to re-open on June 1 with certain regulations in place. For instance, a minimum distance of five feet is to be maintained among the diners and the total capacity of such establishments is to be limited to 30 people.

As such, the trio of humanoid robo-waiters ferry trays of drinks, which are loaded by the restaurant's human staff, to and from the tables with a digital smile (and sometimes even a frown) on their screens. As of now, the robots only carry drinks, but their responsibilities may well be expanded in the future.

A similar endeavour has been undertaken by the Royal Palace restaurant in Renesse, North-West of Maastricht. Here, the robots are employed to greet the customers as well as serve and clear tables.

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Tot heden hebben wij nog geen passende naam gevonden voor onze robots, daarom willen wij vragen of jullie ons kunnen helpen?ðŸ¤Â– Ben jij degene die ons helpt om onze robots een leuke naam te geven? Reageer dan onder deze post met de naam die je zou geven aan onze robot(s). We hebben 2 robots en voor beiden een naam nodig. Uit alle reacties zullen wij 2 namen kiezen die volgens ons het meest geschikt zijn. Degene met de winnende naam wint een gratis etentje wanneer wij weer open zijn!

A post shared by Royal Palace (@royalpalacerenesse) on May 26, 2020 at 7:28am PDT

The restaurant industry has faced severe job-losses in the wake of the pandemic, but the robot waiters don’t really pose a threat in this regard. The cost of these robots alone prevents them from being a viable option for small to medium businesses. Yet, they certainly present a quirky, refreshing, and most importantly, a safe dining experience as the industry tries to find its feet in the ‘new normal.’

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