Robots working as bar tenders and waiters sounds like a wonderful vision of the future, but the reality is far from fantastic after bumbling bots forced two restaurants in China to close.
The serving automatons, which cost a reported $7,000 (£4,197) each, were hired to take customer orders, serve food and pour drinks at a chain of restaurants called Heweilai, based in Guangzhou. While this is a simple task for us humans, the humanoids turned out to be as effective as Mr Bean. Staff described how the robots couldn't perform a single job, instead causing chaos as they attempted to carry trays of food (most notably soup) or pour hot water. You can only imagine the scenes.
You can't blame the restaurant owners for trying, as the maintenance costs are far lower than a human worker's wage and the novelty of having robot staff is a huge draw for curious customers. Sadly that hefty outlay for a team of futuristic waiters, and a lack of paid orders as they couldn't even lay a plate, has meant significant losses for the restaurant resulting in its closure. The chain still has one branch open, however it has 'fired' its robot workers and the fate of the flawed machines seems to be one of heading for the scrapheap.
While the use of robots is widespread in manufacturing to make processes faster and cheaper, those in the service industry can breathe a sigh of relief for now as it appears the rise of the droids are not coming for your job any time soon. That said, not all cases of robots working in the food business has been a mess, as the robotic chef from Moley proves. With a pair of arms suspended above a kitchen cooker, it can impressively prepare Michelin-star foods which it downloads instantly. IBTimes UK saw the Gordon Ramsey-esque robot in action and we were stunned – it didn't even swear once as it created us a lobster bisque.