Big Table Group has partnered with Pudu Robotics with a trail use of ‘BellaBot’ robots at its Bella Italia in Center Parcs Whinfell Forest, specifically chosen due to its large footprint, with longer distances between kitchen and tables.
The robots are designed to support team members with everyday tasks and have four shelves in the centre of their ‘body’ structure to carry plates. Once loaded, the the robotic waiter interacts with guests when delivering food to diners to encourage customers to take their ordered dishes from the BellaBot.
The BellaBot can be programmed to conduct certain movements around the restaurant to allow customers to take their desired dish in a buffet-like environment.
In Bella Italia, the BellaBot has been designed to rotate to the side of the table, allowing the staff to hand over the client’s plates, automating many supply-side processes. In special occasions and festivities, the robot can be arranged to perform and entertain whilst effecting its allocated tasks. For instance, in the case of a guest’s birthday, the robot can display customised wordings on its external frame and sing ‘Happy Birthday’.
“We’re always open to innovative solutions which benefit our teams, improve service and improve our guests’ experience, so we’re delighted to pilot the BellaBot,” says Lisa Gibbons, chief operating officer at Bella Italia.
“By having intelligent robots conduct simple tasks, such as retrieving dirty dishes, our teams are able to focus on doing what they love and delivering an amazing experience. It’s still early days in the trial, but we’re looking forward to seeing the impact that having an extra pair of ‘paws’ has on dining satisfaction.”
Big Table Group is not the first restaurant group in the UK to adopt the use of robots, sometimes to tackle the shortage of staff in the sector. Milton Keynes restaurant Robotazia uses a number of robots as waiting staff and The Chinese Buffet restaurant chain has used them to serve food to customers in four of its restaurants in Liverpool, St Helens, Bolton and Wigan.
Entertainment venue Gravity Southside has also used robot waiters called BellaBot, FinnBot and OllieBot, to serve guests at its Wandsworth location and M Restaurants uses ‘champagne robots’ named Bailey and Sage to serve drinks to guests at the table
The trial does mean that Big Table Group has become the largest restaurant chain in the UK to introduce robot technology, according to the restaurant group.