Even before the novel coronavirus, customer-service providers were looking to automation to help deal with staffing turnover, and social distancing has increased interest in robots for food service and hospitality. Bear Robotics Inc. and SoftBank Robotics Group Corp. today announced that they have partnered to offer the Servi robot in Japanese markets.
Redwood City, Calif.-based Bear Robotics has developed serving and bussing robots that use artificial intelligence to automate manual work. This allows food servers to focus on delivering outstanding customer service, it said. Tokyo-based SoftBank Robotics, which said 35,000 of its Whiz cleaning robots and Pepper and Nao humanoid robots are used in more than 70 countries worldwide, is also an investor in Bear Robotics.
Founded in 2017, Bear Robotics said its robots operate in restaurants, corporate campuses, ghost kitchens, senior care facilities, and casinos across North America, Asia, and Europe. The company raised $32 million in Series A funding in January 2020.
Servi relies on object detection
Bear Robotics said that Servi and Servi Mini, successors to the Penny robot, are designed to assist food-service staffers and elevate the overall customer experience. It claimed that its robots’ navigational agility and object detection make it best in class for safety.
Servi has already made 110,000 deliveries, traveled more than 8,000 miles, and served more than 200,000 customers, according to Bear Robotics. The robot also has a compact design and can be personalized, and its touch interfaace is intended for flexible workflows, said the company.
There has been “significant interest” from the hospitality market in Japan, Korea, and the U.S., said Bear Robotics. Partners include TGIFridays, Google, Boathouse Asian Eatery, and Bon Appétit Co.
Servi includes additional features such as bussing, drink delivery, and patrol mode. This will allow restaurant and dining hall owners to maximize their operating efficiency, while also elevating service quality to customers, the companies claimed.