Japanese Restaurant Giant Rolls Out Robo-Cat Waiters

A robot brings customers their food. 

© Shutterstock

robots-Japan

A robot brings customers their food. 

© Shutterstock

Contactless dining served by robot waiters

Two thousand restaurants operated by Skylark Holdings, Japan's largest operator of family restaurants, will use robot cats to serve customers by the end of 2022, according to a Nikkei Shimbun report. The black and white robots, with a digital face display, can serve tables of up to four people and remove the dishes when customers have finished their meals. A trial found the robot waiters were able to cut the number of steps human staff took in half during peak times. 


Overcome labour shortage issues

As Japan gradually eases restrictions on day-to-day life, the chronic shortage of workers in the catering industry has become a big issue and Skylark’s robot waiters are expected to help solve the puzzle, and at the same time, minimise human contact and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. US$380 million/JP¥43 billion was raised in funding by Skylark in June to implement these robot waiters.

In a time of social distancing, Japan's robotics market is witnessing a major boom. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the robot industry in Japan could be valued at as much as ¥10 trillion/US$90 billion by 2035. 

FIND OUT MORE