robots as waiters at Italian restaurant

One restaurant ‘hires’ robots as waiters, another offers wine in exchange for phones

Business News

Two restaurants in Italy have taken differing approaches to technology. One restaurant has ‘hired’ robots as waiters. Another restaurant is offering wine in exchange for mobile phones during the meal.

A restaurateur on the Amalfi Coast has ‘hired’ two Chinese-made robots as waiters after failing to get enough staff.

Mario Parlato, owner of the restaurant La Terrazza delle Sirene at Sorrento, said he was “tired” of young people asking for the weekend off and said he was “happy I took this decision to use AI-fitted devices”.

He said the robots would not, however, ever fully replace human waiting personnel.

“They can accompany clients to their tables, bring the dishes and drinks, but the politeness and ‘simpatia’ of those who do this job are irreplaceable”.

It’s not the first time an Italian restaurant has used robot waiters. In 2019, The Gran Caffe Rapallo in Liguria hired two robot waiters to take orders and bring food to the table.

Wine for mobiles

A restaurant in Verona has introduced a unique offer: patrons who surrender their mobile phones during meals receive a complimentary bottle of wine. Angelo Lella, the proprietor of Al Condominio, launched this initiative in March with the aim of fostering face-to-face interaction among diners.

Lella explained, “We wanted to create a dining experience that differs from the norm. Our concept allows customers to disconnect from technology and engage in meaningful conversations while enjoying their meal together. Nowadays, constantly checking our phones has become a habit for many, almost like an addiction. This initiative provides an opportunity for guests to set aside their devices and savour some fine wine.”

Upon arrival, guests are given the option to deposit their phones in individual lockboxes provided by the restaurant. They present the key to their waiter, who then serves them their complimentary bottle of wine.

Al Condominio restaurant offers a wine for mobile phones stored in a lockbox.

Unsurprisingly, the prospect of free wine has attracted considerable interest in the restaurant. The majority of guests are opting to participate in the mobile phone detox. Lella noted, “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. About ninety percent of our customers have willingly surrendered their phones in exchange for wine. It’s truly heartening to see people engaging in meaningful conversations instead of being glued to their screens.”

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