Robot employee serves lunch at Lillington restaurant during employee shortage ::

– Lillington’s latest restaurant employee is on the rise with rave reviews for exceptional service.

The employee is a robot.

With restaurants facing chronic staff shortages, the restaurant on Highway 55 has found a high-tech way to reduce stress.

With all the “Now Hiring” signs in the windows, restaurant workers have been feeling the pressure lately, especially during the busy hours of the day like the lunch and dinner rush.

The staff at Highway 55 are grateful to their new co-worker, although it’s a little odd to have a robot serving lunch in a small town restaurant.

“We all live in strange times,” said Alex Ramos, owner of the restaurant.

Ramos brought the robot – officially named Servi and manufactured by a company called Bear Robotics – for a test drive. It costs $ 999 per month including installation and support.

It glides across the floor with a soft tinkle, carrying orders of hot and fresh food to the waiting tables. It is programmed to deliver food from the kitchen to every table in the restaurant. Sensors prevent it from hitting people.

Employees say it’s helped waiters spend more time with their customers – and kids and families love it.

“Servi’s goal is not really to replace our staff,” he said. “Servi’s goal is just to relieve the stress and burden on our staff.”

The staff have been overworked and stretched because too few people have an appetite to work in the restaurant business. These staffing shortages have caused staff to work overtime – or have too few hands on deck.

“If we can’t find a normal human being who would function normally, we’re going to rely on Servi so that we don’t overload the four working this shift,” Ramos said.

The staff are working on names for the robotic assistant – like Betty or Rosie, Tim Conway or Mr. Roboto.

Served can work 8 to 12 hours a day with a two hour load.

Ramos says that in the week since he’s been at work, it has worked without a problem.

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