Robots in Durant?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived in Durant, Oklahoma, at the Choctaw Casino & Resort. The casino has incorporated robots into their food service staff. The Choctaw Casino & Resort and the WinStar World Casino & Resort are two of the largest employers in Texomaland. Servers still have to direct the robots, so the new machines are not replacing servers.

Yes, the Choctaw Casino & Resort has welcomed three robot servers equipped with AI and multiple cameras. The casino is in the process of “training” their new staff. The robot servers use AI and cameras. The casino reports that the robot servers are acclimating to their new routine well. Soon, the robots will serve the casino’s customers food and drinks.

Harold Johnson, regional director for food and beverage for Choctaw Casino, explains how the robots work. The robots should be fully acclimated within two or three weeks after they learn what to do. The robots work for 15 hours after a four-hour charge. They use 13 cameras and move safely around the restaurant floor and kitchen with laser sensing technology. 

Robot manufacturers have designed their waiter robots to help the servers, bartenders, and bussers do their jobs much better, not replace their jobs. The robots can deliver food and drinks, take dirty dishes back to the kitchen, and sing happy birthday. Once the weight of the food delivery is picked up, the robots return immediately back to the kitchen. 

The wait staff at the casino love the robots. The wait staff loads the robot with their food orders, taps the table number on the computer screen where they send the food orders to the kitchen, pushes go, and off goes the robot. The bartenders love them because robots allow them to have more interaction with the customers, and the bussers love them because they aren’t carrying tubs full of heavy plates back to the kitchen. 

So far, customer feedback is highly positive. The customers like seeing the new technology. As of this writing, the Choctaw Casino has the only restaurants in Texomaland using avant-garde, leading-edge technology. The robots speak 80 languages and sing happy birthday in 20 languages. Today, four types of robots are working in the food industry.

Food service robots, called waiter robots, can function at two levels of intelligence. They can deliver food and take care of simple customer needs. And, some service robots analyze online customer reviews ratings of restaurants and hotels, which improve guest experiences. Waiter robots serve with human-like interactive assistance with emotional and social capacities. 

1. Robot Waiters

  • Greet customers.
  • Serve meals and beverages.
  • Pick up finished dishes and cutlery.

2. Robot Cooks

The automated cooks usually operate with “arms” and “hands” that imitate human movements and are the most high-tech restaurant robots.

  • Mix and stir.
  • Retrieve ingredients.
  • Operate equipment.
  • Prepare meals and drinks.
  • Clean up.

3. Grocery Store Robots

Grocery stores use robots to make things more efficient for their employees like waiter robots. 

  • Sense hazards.
  • Alert employees.
  • Clean floors.
  • Stock shelves.
  • Deliver groceries to shoppers.

4. Delivery Robots

Restaurants become overwhelmed during peak hours when they offer home delivery services. These robots come with tamperproof compartments, but they do not work efficiently in bad weather, for long distances, and obstacles on the streets. They work best at college campuses. Self-driving cars appear to be the future of delivery automation for restaurants and grocery stores. 

One reason we don’t see many restaurants with waiter robots is that most restaurants are small or medium enterprises, and the robots come with a stiff price tag of thousands of dollars. But some robot manufacturers are renting their waiter robots for about $1000 a month. Florida’s Sergio's Restaurant Chain reported that their staff received bigger tips after it employed a Softbank Servi Robot in 2021. 

Though I was not able to find out which make and model the robot waiters at the Choctaw Casino & Resort are, the pictures of their robots look just like Softbank Servi Robots. People will always prefer to interact with people. With robots, the wait staff is much freer to take on more customer service responsibilities. I know I will be heading to Durant soon to check out the newest addition to the Choctaw Casino and Resort’s wait staff. 

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