Want your baby back ribs brought to your table via robot?
You may be in luck as Rita the robot, a version of the Bear Robotics Servi server robot platform, has now been deployed in 10 Chili’s restaurants across the US.
The news, shared via a social media post on Linkedin, marks the latest in a string of deployments for the Bear Robotics robot over the past year. The northern California-based company has seen wins across the US in 2021, from Florida’s Sergio’s to the Country Biscuit in North Carolina to Sangam Chettinad Indian Cuisine Restaurant in Austin.
But with over 1600 locations, Chili’s is the biggest win yet for Bear Robotics, and one which looks like it’s growing quickly. Bear announced they deployed Rita to a fifth Chili’s just a week ago, and since then, new locations have been added almost daily.
The Chili’s server-bot deployment is also likely one that could signal a bigger turn towards robotics in fast-casual restaurants. Other chains are no doubt watching the rollout of Rita closely and could be planning to trial their own front-of-house bots as many continue to struggle with hiring.
Bear Robotics, founded by ex-Googler and restauranteur John Ha, has come a long way since Ha started trialing his first robot, Penny, in his own restaurant, the Kang Nam Tofu House in Milpitas, CA. A couple of years later, Bear debuted its second-generation robot Servi, and the company’s been serving up new deployments ever since.
“[Servers] are tired, they get a low salary, usually no health insurance, but they’re working really hard,” Ha told The Spoon in 2018.
In the same interview, Ha also told The Spoon he wanted to create the “Google of the restaurant field.”. With Bear’s relationship with one of the country’s biggest restaurant chains, he may just be inching closer to that vision.