Smitty’s in Kelowna has a new staff member on wheels.
BellaBot joined the Smitty’s team about a week ago to assist wait staff in running plates.
The friendly robot has ears, talks to you, plays music and will even sing happy birthday to anyone celebrating in the restaurant. It even enjoys being scratched behind the ears.
Smitty’s owner Pavel Prygounov said the bot is boosting business with newcomers wanting to check it out and children eager to meet it.
Prygounov said they had Bella running around on Mother’s Day.
“People were taking video. Kids were asking for it to come to the table saying, ‘I want that robot back, I want Bella back.’ They would just go nuts, people just videotaping. It’s hilarious.”
Bella was brought in for a trial run and it will be up to Prygounov and his staff whether to keep it.
BellaBot was created by GreenCo Robots based in Edmonton.
B.C. Interior business manager Ionut Bordieanu told Capital News this is the first bot to launch in the region.
“We don’t take it as a toy. Most of the industry, restaurants, they are looking at how to improve customer experience.”
Bordieanu said the bot is not meant to replace staff, but rather to lessen the stress and workload.
“The robots are registered in Canada as P.P.E., like a face mask,” Bordieanu explained. “People want to see it as safe as possible. Of course, lots of people see it as a toy, think it’s funny, kids love it, but what we try to do and to achieve is keep it safe.”
The bot is set up with sensors and lasers to track its surroundings. It is programmed to move around obstacles without bumping into them and can be paused when necessary.
It is equipped with four trays each with a capacity of 10 kilograms. BellaBot can have music and other audio uploaded for an added feature.
The bot can be used to escort patrons to their table and shuttle plates to and from the kitchen, but commands must be input by staff on the touch screen.
GreenCo offers a variety of service and cleaning robots for rent, lease, or purchase.
Bordieanu said BellaBot was designed to be fun and friendly, while some designs have a more sophisticated look and others include different features.
BellaBot has received mixed reviews since being launched at Smitty’s, but staff say they like having an extra hand and love seeing customers’ faces light up when Bella brings their food.