Van Dyke by Wildes, a luxury four-star hotel in Clowne, has expanded their team with the addition of two robot waiters.
Marc Wildes, managing director of Wildes Group, was inspired to make the purchase after seeing one of the robots in action while on holiday, and said it would help them deal with staffing issues.
“I went to the Republic of Ireland back in May and I saw one of them working in a restaurant. I spoke to the owner to see how capable the robot was of taking food in and out, and I thought it was really good.
“From a hygiene point of view, it’s less contact with people touching plates, and it looks good and works well, especially with the staffing problems we’ve got at the moment in hospitality.”
The team at Van Dyk have spent £20,000 on two of the robots, which Marc said are programmed to automatically find the right tables. He did add, however, that customers would still have the usual contact with members of staff.
“We purchased two of the robots for £10,000 each, but the human contact is still there. We welcome people as normal at the door and a waiter will take customer’s orders as usual.
“The kitchen team put food onto different trays on the robot, and they input the table number. The robot has been programmed to know where all the tables are in the property, so it goes automatically and then comes back and waits for the next lot to go out.
“When it gets to the table, the waiter who has actually taken the order will take the food from the robot and give it to the guest. The service level is still there, but it means we don’t need people running backwards and forwards to the kitchen to get the food.”
Marc said that Van Dyk is only venue in Derbyshire to have implemented such technology – and that the initial response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I think the industry is going to go this way anyway. There’s nowhere within a 70 mile radius of us that has anything like this.
“The guests have been in today and they’re all filming it – they’ve never seen it before and they all think it’s great.”