07 May 2023, by Victoria Séveno

With a number of industries facing serious staff shortages, a couple of companies and entrepreneurs have attempted to come up with new and innovative ways to make up for their lack of workers. As RTL Nieuws reports, a couple of short-staffed restaurants and cafes across the Netherlands are now employing robot servers instead of human ones. 

Museum cafe in Haarlem employing Robin, the robot server

Robot waiters certainly aren’t a new phenomenon; businesses across Switzerland and the rest of Europe have been using them for months – Japan even has its own robot cafe. The Netherlands isn’t quite that advanced, but the hospitality industry is now turning to technology to fill jobs

According to a report by RTL Nieuws, these high-tech servers are already being used at establishments in Haarlem and Leusden. At the Teylers Museum – the oldest museum in the Netherlands – Robin wheels himself through tables at the Truffles cafe to deliver food and drinks to waiting customers. 

According to cafe owner Edith Seders, Robin has so far proved fairly successful with diners: “People love that the robot is driving around here. It also has ears and… responds with words like ‘nice’. Children love it. And the personal contact with people has not been lost, because we still take the orders and organise the payments.”

Short-staffed restaurants investing in robots instead of humans

Robin might be popular, but he also comes at a price, costing around 10.000 euros. It’s a fairly hefty price tag, but in the long term could be cheaper than having to take time and spend money recruiting workers and paying salaries and taxes

Maarten Steinbuch, a researcher at the university in Eindhoven, told RTL Nieuws he’s not entirely sure whether the investment actually saves businesses money in the long run, but he’s sure that the technology will only become more popular in the Netherlands as time passes: “A robot can be used perfectly when it comes to repetitive actions such as cutting food. We will see more and more robots in the catering industry. The question is whether it is a good business move.”

Thumb: Alina Rosanova via Shutterstock.com.

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