GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A popular restaurant in Grand Haven has found a new way to get some extra help on its staff. The Paisley Pig has added a robot that can assist bussers by hauling dirty dishes.
Josh Sandberg, the chef and owner of the restaurant, says he purchased the robot at a cost of about $20,000. It is now beginning its fourth week of operation.
“My wife named it Rosie after the robot in ‘(The) Jetsons,'” Sandberg said. “If somebody walks in front of it, it will sense right away and it will either come to a complete stop or it will make an adjustment to go out to the right or to the left.”
The restaurant says the robot is helping improve efficiency at a time when it’s challenging to find enough workers.
“All summer, we probably ran at least eight to 12 people short,” Sandberg said.
A busser can call the robot to a table by touching a specially designed watch to a marker on the side of a table. Rosie then uses a series of sensors along with initial programing to navigate the restaurant.
“We become more efficient and long-term it ends up just paying for itself,” Sandberg said.
The restaurant partnered with Design Force Marketing, which suggested the idea and helped the Paisley Pig find the right robot to purchase and meet its needs. Matthew Wight works with the marketing company and is also a busser at the restaurant.
“I don’t feel it’s taking away any part of my job. It’s making me more efficient,” Wight said.
Customer Mary DeWild had concerns about how robots will impact the job market but was fascinated to see Rosie pass by.
“I was in shock. What the heck is going on? I’ve never seen a robot in a restaurant before,” DeWild said.
The restaurant is considering the purchase of a second robot to bring clean dishes to set the tables.
“Especially if it makes us more efficient in resetting a table quicker, to me that just seems like a no-brainer,” Sandberg said.