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Robot helps Michigan restaurant in midst of employee shortage

"Robot Rosey" helping Grand Haven restaurant in midst of employee shortage
Posted at 3:05 PM, Nov 15, 2021

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — The newest member of The Paisley Pig continues to impress. 

“It has been great,” said Josh Sandberg, owner. 

Sandberg says he’s amazed at how the employee glides through the floor and picks up plates, then eventually drops them off to be cleaned. 

“We’re finding that she really does a lot for us,” said Sandberg. 

Last month, the Grand Haven restaurant hired, or more like bought, “Rosey.” 

“We’ve actually, kind of for fun, named her Rosey,” said Sandberg. “After ‘The Jetson’s.’” 

“Rosey” is a robot that’s designed to assist the restaurant’s busers. 

“You have a watch that is paired through the WiFi system to the robot, and each table has its own individual disk that has been programmed for the table,” said Sandberg. “I walked over here and synced the watch to the table, which then calls her. She’s going to turn so the bus tubs are facing the table.” 

According to Sandberg, the Paisley Pig decided to try “Rosey” after struggling to hire workers this past summer. He believes they’re one of the only restaurants in Michigan using the technology. 

“At first, we were a little… back on it,” said Sandberg. “We didn’t think it was something that we wanted.” 

While a person still needs to put the table wear into a bin physically, Sandberg estimates “Rosey” shaves a few minutes off of the cleaning process. He says staff no longer needs to walk back and forth between the restaurant and the dishwashing area. 

“We noticed right away in our first weekend that, ‘Hey, this is actually going to save us some time, hopefully, get more people at our tables,’” said Sandberg.

A recent survey from Morning Consult and Verizon found 30% of businesses began implementing new technology to compensate for fewer employees.

Sandberg says he encourages others to try and innovate when it makes sense.

“For us, it’s just keeping an open mind and working with technology,” said Sandberg. “[To] not let it completely take us all over, but work with it and figure out how it can help propel our business forward.”

Marisa Oberle at WXMI first reported this story.