Robots in restaurants could be the partial answer to a staff shortage for the sector.
That’s according to Paul Lenehan, president of the Restaurant Association of Ireland.
He was speaking as one Japanese restaurant in Dublin is using a robotic waitress, called BellaBot.
A BellaBot robot on display in Las Vegas in January 2020. Picture by: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
But Paul told The Hard Shoulder the approach has some problems.
“A very novel idea and I think [a] genius marketing way to be able to do something different in your restaurant.
“But I don’t think it’s the answer – nor would it solve the problem – of our shortages of staff in the country”.
He says the pandemic means the sector has lost a lot of part-time workers.
“We’ve lost a generation of 19/20-year-olds that would have come into us at part-time.
“So that has certainly impacted us for our casual employees at weekends.
“But overall staffing is an issue, especially in the chefing side of things.
“Unfortunately a robot in the kitchen is certainly not going to work – whatever help a robot out on the restaurant floor would do”.
However he believes the sector will have to muscle through the shortage.
“It has been made a lot easier for us to get visas to bring staff in from abroad.
“But certainty within Ireland itself, we are nearly at full employment – so people aren’t out there.
“We just don’t have the staff there in the first place”.