Moons Over My Servi, Bear Robotics Now at 15 Denny's Locations

Are 24-hour locations the perfect spot for server robots?

Bear Robotics certainly seems to be on a roll. The company posted on Linkedin today that it is “…beyond thrilled to be joining Denny’s teams across the country!” along with a video (see screengrab above↑). So I reached out to Bear Co-Founder and COO Juan Higueros who wrote to tell me that Bear’s Servis have now been deployed to 15 Denny’s locations that are split evently between the U.S. East Coast and West Coast in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and California.

In a nutshell, the Servi is an autonomous rack of trays that can shuttle plates of food or empty dishes to and from the kitchen. It’s meant to take over some of the (literal) heavy lifting for human servers, who can then focus on customer service.

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Servis rollout at Denny’s has been pretty quick. Higueros said the two parties started talking in May, but deployments only happened over the last five weeks. Higueros also said that the company expects “the pace to continue to go up from here since we hope to be in as many of them as we can possibly deploy each month heading into 2022.”

This rapid Denny’s deployment follows news from last month that Servis were operating in ten Chili’s locations across California, Texas and Florida.

In many ways, Denny’s is a perfect location for a robot like Servi. Denny’s serves big plates of food (←heavy!) and operates 24 hours a day. Or, at least they did. In August Restaurant Business Online reported:

Yet 60% of the diner chain’s domestic restaurants have yet to resume round-the-clock service, a reflection not of demand but of the difficulties in recruiting workers for the overnight shift, executives told investors Tuesday.

Having a robot carrying food, drinks and empties could help Denny’s alleviate its all-night staffing shortages because, well, robots can run all day and night. Alleviating odd-shift staffing issues was something White Castle, another 24 hour restaurant chain, brough up last year when it announced it was expanding its use of Flippy the frying robot.

With Denny’s tacit approval of Servi, I imagine we’ll be seeing more all-night eateries adopt server robots as well.