A local sushi restaurant struggling to find a full-time worker decided to go a different route in the hiring process.
Yanagi Sushi in San Luis Obispo has implemented a robot server known as BellaBot to make up for the empty hands in the restaurant.
“We call her Bella,” said Yanagi Sushi Manager Crystal Tui. “The main function is to help as a server bringing the food to the table."
The robot has multiple functions, including delivering food to customers and interacting with them.
“She can sing the birthday song to the customers,” said Tui.
“When I saw it trucking along, it caught me off guard,” said customer Monet Spence. “I realized it had my food on it.”
“It is very helpful because it takes my food to the customer,” said Yanagi Sushi Chef Sam Lee. “You get an entertainer as an employee.”
Bella plays a key role at the restaurant with the capability to work consistently.
“Sometimes employees are exhausted or feeling bad and don’t come in,” said Lee. “Bella’s always here.”
“Right now, it's so hard to find the employee, especially for full-time,” said Tui.
Bella additionally helps mediate traffic within the restaurant.
“During the busy time, we can just press the button and let her serve the food,” said Tui.
While Bella is serving food, the extra time saved is allocated to serving customers ordering to-go.
For customers dining in, Bella helps offer entertainment for all ages.
“A lot of customers bring their children and bring their friends to see the robot while also enjoying the food,” said Tui.
“I think it's a great addition to the restaurant and I think it's fun,” said Spence. “I definitely think it will bring people out here to see it.”
“Many people like it and are very interested because they’ve never seen it before,” said Lee.
The BellaBot is not new to the United States, as similar robots have been used in larger cities.
It is the first BellaBot to be brought to San Luis Obispo to cater to customers.