HomeTop StoriesRobot restaurant worker elicits smiles from customers and concern from employees

Robot restaurant worker elicits smiles from customers and concern from employees

CONCORD — Something’s cooking at Cajun Crack’n seafood restaurant in Concord, and not just in the kitchen.

“We walked in and saw him moving. It was very exciting to see,” said customer Kelly Keovannala.

Meet Rosie the robot. She has been working here for two months now and is already a customer favorite.

“Rosie is cute. I like Rosie,” said another customer, Patti Farr.

Waitress Michelle Magno said since Rosie started working, not only has the service improved, but so have the tips.

“People are excited to see her. A lot of my customers now call her ‘Rosie,'” Magno said.

Teddy Williams, vice president of sales at OrionStar USA, the company behind Rosie, said the robot can deliver food, pick up dirty dishes and play promotional videos on its screen. No orders are needed, but that’s only a matter of time.

“The applications are quite varied. Whatever you can think of, there really is a way for Rosie to fit into that,” Williams said.

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Rosie is never sick, she is always on time and for the most part has no attitude.

She was officially named Lucki by the manufacturer and nicknamed Rosie because she reminded customers of Rosey, the robot maid in the 1960s cartoon The Jetsons.

Server robots are no longer science fiction, but are becoming increasingly popular. Tens of thousands of them fly through restaurants across the country. While they are seen as a response to the growing labor shortage in the food industry, some worry they may do more harm than good.

Djarae Lucas, lead organizer at ROC the Bay, an advocacy group for restaurant workers, says these robots could decimate much-needed restaurant jobs.

“I think a lot of people see food service as an easy, simple job that you only do once, but for a lot of us it’s a way of life,” he said.

The company says the robot is only there to support people. Meanwhile, waiters say they’re not worried, at least not yet.

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“A lot of people still need that human interaction,” Magno noted.

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