Meet the University of Houston's new robotic restaurant server ‘SERVI’

HOUSTON – When you think of being served at a restaurant, your server may be a person, but in this case, you could be served by a robot! Derrick Shore caught up with Dr. Dennis Reynolds, Dean of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality leadership at University of Houston, to talk about the newest addition to their hospitality team at Eric’s Restaurant, at the U of H Hilton.

This newest robotic addition goes by the name, SERVI, serving people meals, just as a human worker would. This new feature is one of the first robots of its kind in Houston. Dr. Reynolds says, “Well there are a lot of advantages--it makes the servers’ jobs easier.” With technology advancing, he also says, “We’d like to be progressive..and new technology is one of the things we’d like best.”

It took about a day to program SERVI, so it could learn its way around the restaurant. They took the route of creating a digital mapping of the restaurant, so SERVI could follow that path to whatever table it’s set to go to.

SERVI works all day without needing a break! They plug the robot in during early hours of the morning, and it can hold charge for 12 hours. They’re able to do breakfast, lunch and dinner with no bumps or any complications.

This newest tech feature has been at Eric’s Restaurant for a couple months now, and has delivered thousands of meals so far!

Within a year, SERVI is expected to be delivering room service in a locked container to guests staying at the hotel.

Watch the video above to see more about this new invention that is paving the way for hospitality students at UH and restaurants in the future.

Having this technology is a way to get students prepared for jobs in the future. They’ll be able to enter the workforce familiar with a technology that is cutting edge.


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