According to Juan Higueros, co-founder and chief operating officer of Bear Robotics, which makes the Servi robot, demand has skyrocketed. Aside from Sergio’s restaurants, he has received inquiries from casinos, restaurant chains, arenas, and even senior residences desperately trying to help overworked employees.

“Burnout is becoming a very big problem for restaurant staff,” he said.

Peanut Robotics, a start-up, makes a robot that cleans and disinfects toilets, and SoftBank Robotics makes Whiz that vacuums floors.

While Peanut is still in the prototype phase, this hasn’t stopped hotel chains, offices, and restaurants from requesting the robot. “We don’t do active marketing, but people keep finding us,” said Joe Augenbraun, the company’s CEO. “I have a demand for hundreds of them right now.”

Knightscope makes robots that use artificial intelligence, video, and two-way audio to patrol outdoor or indoor areas. It uses thermal imaging, license plate recognition, and other software. There is also an alarm button on the robot that the caller can use to speak to someone directly. Demand has been particularly strong lately from casinos and office buildings, said Stacy Stephens, co-founder and chief client officer at Knightscope.

Makr Shakr, based in Italy, makes robotic bartenders whose arms can measure, mix, shake, pour and even garnish cocktails. In the past three months, inquiries have increased by 50 percent compared to the prepandemic level, said Carlo Ratti, founding partner and professor at MIT

The Tipsy Robot, a bar that opened in Las Vegas in 2017, uses Makr Shakr’s robotic arms. Its general manager, Victor Reza Valanejad, said the robot was a godsend when Covid hit. “In 2019, I received around 120 bartender applications a day,” he said. But in April 2021, the same ad took three weeks to receive just 14 applications. “And none of those 14 showed up for the interviews,” he said.



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