SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A popular Sioux Falls eatery is adding a topping of technology to its pizzas. The Pizza Ranch on 41st Street has hired a couple of robots to help bus tables.
Robots scooting through the lunch crowd at the Pizza Ranch come as a surprise to the intrigued humanoids sitting down to a meal.
“Brought my granddaughter out for dinner. I hadn’t seen or heard of it. I’ve seen them tooling around, making the rounds to pick up stuff, so that’s kind of interesting,” Corey Bintliff of Sioux Falls said.
The robots deliver payloads of dirty dishes and silverware to the restaurant’s dish room. It’s a dirty job, but robots can do it.
“I haven’t had one employee yet say, ‘Todd, I really like carrying dirty dishes back to the dish room,'” Pizza Ranch owner Todd Pharis said.
Pharis says his restaurant serves 45-thousand customers a month. So it’s important to get the tables cleared as quickly as possible for the next crowd that comes in and free up the staff to handle other important duties.
“What we wanted to do was help our bussers spend more time cleaning the tables,” Pharis said.
The robots can work a 12-hour shift on a single charge and it’s not just bussing tables. The robots can also be programmed to deliver food to customers. That you very much. So what do you tip a robot, anyway?
“I think just by recharging it every night, it appreciates it,” Pharis said.
The Pizza Ranch leases the robots at a cost of around $1-thousand a month for each. The robots are equipped with sensors and 3D cameras that prevent them from bumping into people, programmed to always be courteous toward customers.
The Pizza Ranch is considering holding a contest among its customers to name their two robots.