Restaurant’s answer to staff shortages: Robot servers

FILE – In this Wednesday April 21, 2021 file photo, people sit outside a restaurant for outdoor service in Roskilde Denmark, as cafes and bars reopened. After 548 days with restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, Denmark’s high vaccination rate has enabled the Scandinavian country to become one of the first European Union nations to lift all domestic restrictions. The return to normality has been gradual, but as of Friday Sept. 10, 2021, the digital pass — a proof of having been vaccinated — is no longer required when entering night clubs, making it the last virus safeguard to fall. (Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix via AP, File)

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut restaurant is taking an unorthodox approach to addressing staff shortages: robot servers to serve meals.

The operator of the New London location of the Shaking Crab told The Day that the ocean-themed restaurant will use regular waiters and waitresses to explain the menu and take orders but that the robots will deliver the meals to the tables.

Gulshan Soni told the newspaper that the robots can be summoned with a bell and said the innovation is partly for showmanship and to draw in customers with something unique, and partially to address staffing shortages being experienced across the industry. The four robots cost between $6,000 and $22,000, he said.

The restaurant is scheduled to open to the public in early October. The Shaking Crab has more than two dozen locations in the northeastern U.S. and China, according to its website.

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