A Chick-fil-A in Texas is using a robot named Wall-E, instead of employees, to deliver food to dine-in customers – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

A Chick-fil-A in Texas is using a robot named Wall-E, instead of employees, to deliver food to dine-in customers

A restaurant executive took video and pictures of a robot food runner at a Chick-fil-A in Texas.

T.J. Schier

Chick-fil-A is known for testing new technologies to streamline operations.A restaurant in Texas is using a robot named Wall-E to deliver food to dine-in customers.A restaurant executive dining at the fast-food chain posted video of the robot on LinkedIn.

Restaurant executive T.J. Schier made a pit stop at a Chick-fil-A in Bryan, Texas, and was taken aback Wednesday morning when he saw a robot named Wall-E zipping around the dining room delivering food to breakfast customers.

Wall-E delivered his egg white grilled sandwich with a side of Buffalo sauce and diet soda. Schier, the chief operating officer at BigShots Golf, posted video of Wall-E on his LinkedIn page. He told Insider he was “initially surprised” to see Chick-fil-A deploying a robot in the dining room, as the chain is known for its hospitality-focused workforce.

But then he said it made sense because the brand seems “to always be trying to improve” operations through technology.

Chick-fil-A said it’s been testing autonomous robots at a “small number of Chick-fil-A restaurants as a helping hand to assist team members with serving guests in the dining room.”

“While the robots are delivering meals, friendly Team Members spend their time refreshing beverages, clearing tables, and providing guests the genuine hospitality Chick-fil-A is known for,” the chain told Insider.

Someone in Schier’s LinkedIn network said he, too, spotted a robot at a Chick-fil-A in Dripping Springs, Texas, nine months ago.

Robot food runners have been around for a few years. But, they have mostly been spotted in casual dining chains such as Chili’s and California Pizza Kitchen. They are used for delivering food and busing of tables with the help of workers.

At Chick-fil-A, Schier said he didn’t see any employees in the dining room during his morning visit. When the robot arrived at his table, it told him: “Howdy, please place your table number in the basket.”

One thing the robot couldn’t do: refill his drink.

“Had to go up to get drink refill which usually had been done by host in dining room,” he told Insider in an email.

The fast-food chain and its franchises are known for adopting innovative technologies to streamline operations. In 2018, the company tested a three-button call system that enabled dining room customers to make secondary orders without leaving the table. The chain has also been testing autonomous delivery robots in a limited number of restaurants in California, Texas, and Florida.

Other franchises have been testing labor hiring tech tools like Landed to help find and retain workers.

Chick-fil-A, whose busy drive-thru lanes often spill into city streets, is also introducing new tech-forward restaurant designs. This year, the company said it plans to build an elevated building with four drive-thru lanes that flow below the store. The new concept is set to roll out next year in the chain’s home base of Atlanta. Chick-fil-A is also introducing a digital-focused walk-up store with no cashiers in New York City.

Chick-fil-A has separately opened over 40 drive-thru-only restaurants. These stores do not have dining rooms and cater only to drive-thru and pickup orders.

Are you a Chick-fil-A insider with insight to share? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected] or text at 714-269-8873.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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