A robot is helping servers deliver plates to customers at Grady’s Snack ‘N Dine in Homewood.
The robot, called Servi, started delivering meals in November. The robot has three trays for plates. After servers put the food-filled plates on the trays, they use a touchscreen to select the table number where they want Servi to go and then tap a green Go key.
When Servi arrives at the table, the staff member takes the plates off the trays and serves the customers. Once Servi senses that the weight of the plates has been lifted, it rolls back to the kitchen area. Drinks are still usually hand delivered by servers because this is done before their food is ready.
“It does not replace a server,” manager Janet Ladalski said.
Tony Ramirez, Grady’s owner, discovered Servi when he went to an event showcasing new technology, Ladalski said. While Grady’s recently extended their hours into the evening time, Ladalski said this is unrelated to the addition of Servi to the restaurant.
“It just helps our job. It doesn’t take orders or anything like that,” server Saul Trujillo said.
“I don’t have to lift a tray anymore. I love it,” server Neka Williams said.
Bailey Quaderer, another server, described the robot as “really nice and super helpful,” especially when a table has a lot of plates.
Ladalski said there are customers who come to Grady’s just to see the robot move around.
“It’s a good advertisement for us,” Ladalski said, adding that not many people have seen anything like this before.
Ladalski said the serving staff is still debating about the best nickname for the Servi robot, produced by Bear Robotics, a tech company in the San Francisco Bay area.
Some servers, such as Williams, have nicknamed the robot “Rosey.” This is a reference to the robot in the futuristic animated sitcom, The Jetsons.
Grady’s Snack ‘N Dine, 18147 Harwood Ave., is open seven days a week. Breakfast and lunch hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner hours are from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.