UK’s first robot-operated restaurant aims to open doors as it’s ‘safe during pandemic’

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Robots would run the restaurant in York


A restaurant aims to potentially be the first in the UK to be entirely run by robots to cut the risk of spreading viruses.

The owners of Haizhonglao Hot Pot and BBQ Restaurant, in York, claim “smart robot waiters” will bring food to customers at the contactless venue.

They say an automated diner is an ideal way to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

But police officers have urged the City of York Council to reject the application.

In a statement, the owners say it would be a “contactless restaurant run by robot waiters to reduce the risk of human to human contact due to the virus transmission risk”.

Robots would run the restaurant

They added: “Due to Covid-19 epidemic, the catering industry is badly affected and declined.

“As the virus pandemic continues to rage, we have introduced a robot-run restaurant that helps the business to run smoother, safer eating and better in operation.

“The idea of contactless restaurant enables digital table service with simple, contactless and safer way to place an order for food and drinks.”

They claimed York could have one of the country’s “first automated restaurants”.

Robots would help reduce the transmission of coronavirus
An application says it would help reduce the transmission of coronavirus

The council previously refused to issue a licence after a meeting last November.

These new proposals would see CCTV throughout the premises and an earlier closing time, the York Press reports.

Police say the area already has a high number of pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants in the area, which create “crime and disorder-related issues”.

The prevention of public nuisance will be “undermined” by it, they claim.

A poster has been put up in the restaurant in York advertising the smart robot service

North Yorkshire Police said: “A red zone has also been identified in this area due to the high concentration of licensed premises, the impact of which have led to a high level of occurrences in relation to crime and disorder-related issues.”

A licensing hearing will take place next Monday to rule on the application.

Early last December, two upmarket restaurants in London introduced robot waiters to serve champagne to diners.

The two robots, named Bailey and Sage, were put in place to help customers at M Victoria Street and M Threadneedle Street in the capital.

Restaurants were later closed as strict coronavirus restrictions were put in place.





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