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'All staff is excited': Green Bay restaurant adds table-bussing robot amid staffing shortages

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 23:33:54-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Sous chef Colin Geibel is raving about the newest addition to his restaurant.

"All staff is excited about it," he said. "We're excited to tell family and friends about it. ... Kids have lost their marbles over this."

And it's not human.

"We have our 'Servi' bussing robot at Mangiare Italian Restaurant," Geibel said.

The robot will bring table supplies to and from the kitchen. A server can then put the plate on the table or send back dirty dishes.

"It's going to be coming down with some plateware and some silverware," Geibel said. "There is a cleaning bus tub and some cleaning supplies that are attached to the back of it."

Workers say it relieves stress and allows servers to spend more time with customers.

"It is programmed at every single one of our tables, and the bar location as well, to come and deliver what a busser or a server would normally do," Geibel said.

It can bring food out to customers, and that's how it's used on special occasions. But otherwise, servers are the ones giving meals to patrons at Mangiare.

Once Servi is out on the dining room floor, it takes the tap of a touch screen to send it back to the kitchen.

"If there is an obstruction, it'll stop and then very politely say 'please excuse me,' and then it'll continue on its path," Geibel said.

Creator Bear Robotics charges businesses $999 a month for the robot. And it's not for everybody.

"There are certainly a handful of customers who have that kind of look in their eye about the technology of it," Geibel said.

But with staffing challenges, server Desan Wilson is all for it.

"It makes it just a little bit easier, having just a repetitive task to have the robot do so we can help focus on our customers and give them the best experience that's possible," he said.

It's only been at Mangiare for a month, but the plan is to use even more.