BRADENTON, Fla. — At Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Bradenton, business is better than ever before, but a worker shortage was slowing things down, so owner John Horne turned to technology for help.
"The best part of an oyster is the pearl, right, so now we have Pearl joining our team," said Horne.
"Pearl" is a robot that delivers food from the kitchen to the tables. When Pearl arrives, the wait staff removes the food from the robot and places it on the table.
Horne says this helps wait staff to continue waiting on tables, so they don’t have to spend time running back and forth to the kitchen of the large restaurant.
"We are absolutely striving to help solve the labor crisis. And if we can do that with robotics, we’re not replacing people, we’re just helping them do their job easier," said Horne.
Pearl is programmed to know all the placement of all the tables in the restaurant. But the robot is still being beta tested and has a few kinks to work out, like being stable enough to carry drinks. Horne says Pearl costs about $2.50 an hour to operate.