Watch: A robot now serving up food and drinks at a Guangzhou restaurant

Kevin McGeary , February 27, 2013 12:43pm

A restaurant which has been opened in Guangzhou by a university graduate boasts a robot for a waiter, Guangdong Morning reported today.

Here’s the robot at work

Liu Xiwang, 27, who graduated just over two years ago, took a year after graduating to invent the robot. As well as being able to serve food, the robot can say simple phrases such as “Enjoy your meal.” Its voice has been described as “alluring” and “effeminate” by customers.

Located on Guangzhou Boulevard in Baiyun District, Impressions Robot Restaurant has already proved a hit with young people. Some children have even been known to grope the robot because they don’t want it to leave.

The 1.3 metre tall, 20 kg robot, has software with which to remember table numbers and has a camera for a head. It can use the camera to take photographs of guests. It uses its right hand to collect used dishes and its left hand to serve. It cost Liu around 50,000 yuan to make the first robot.

“It takes five minutes after ordering to bring a meal to customers. But after delivering five meals, the robot needs to be recharged,” Liu told Guangzhou News.

When it needs recharging, the robot returns to the kitchen and says “I am out of electricity.” It takes around 30 minutes to recharge.

On the restaurant’s first day of business in December last year, Liu got up at 5 a.m. because he was too nervous to sleep. The first day turned out to be a huge success and the robot did not let him down.

However, Liu is first to admit that his robot is far from perfect and is prone to malfunctioning. If the restaurant continues to see its business expand, the robot won’t be good enough to meet demand.

Liu is working on a second, more refined robot, and says it will be good to go within three months.

Kevin McGeary

China hand, bawdy balladeer.