How tech could solve staffing shortages in hospitality industry

By Malachy Ryan, below, Head of EMEA Sales, Bear Robotics

The UK is facing one of the worst staffing shortages the hospitality industry has ever seen. Many leaving the industry due to furlough during the pandemic and access to fewer workers due to visa restrictions following Brexit, has resulted in nearly 40% of UK hospitality businesses facing a skilled worker shortage.

An analysis by the Office of National Statistics data found that 37.4% of businesses operating in the accommodation and food industries are experiencing skilled labour shortages. This is significantly higher than construction (25%), transport (16%) and real estate (14%).

Despite companies raising wages in a bid to combat this, progress has been slow and the impact is likely to be felt on the industry for years. However, there is a solution to help combat this problem in this busy industry. Hospitality businesses have gradually introduced tech with initiatives like smart guest experiences and contactless check-in. But there’s more to come.

I am proud to be part of leading AI company Bear Robotics and we’ve recently launched Servi, an innovative new robot set to revolutionise the hospitality and care home industries. Servi helps hospitality and care home businesses, assisting staff by utilizing AI and autonomous robot technology to serve drinks and food and clear tables. This, in turn, allows waiting staff and care home employees to focus on spending quality time and delivering outstanding service to customers.

Servi can be programmed to learn different table locations and is 100% self-driving. Built with an advanced LiDar sensor and multiple cameras, Servi navigates space intelligently, safely and with ease. Once the food and beverages have been delivered, Servi automatically knows to return to its post through internal weight sensors and the robot can be used in conjunction with other Servi models in multi-robot mode.

Servi helps staff to do their jobs more efficiently and helps make conditions more pleasant. Servi is suitable for restaurants and nursing homes in terms of delivering food to tables and to rooms. There are concerns that tech may replace employees but this isn’t the case. It will assist staff so that they can focus on providing the best customer service possible. For example, Servi will reduce mundane tasks for staff like carrying dishes to and from the kitchen to tables that are on the other side of the restaurant.

Bear Robotics is the brainchild of restaurant experts and tech entrepreneurs. We understand the hospitality space because it’s where we started, getting our hands into everything from waiting tables to washing dishes. And when faced with the busy work, we found a better way forward.

Bear Robotics already has a presence in North America with over 9,000 robots in restaurants, corporate campuses, ghost kitchens, senior living facilities, casinos, and medical device and automotive factories. Bear Robotics is expanding in Europe and has a presence in Iceland, Ireland and now, the United Kingdom.

The vision for Bear Robotics is to be globally recognised as the leader in automating the hospitality and goods moving processes; to help free up staff to carry out more productive and higher value-add roles in their organisations.

And there are many new innovations set to come. This month sees the release of Servi Plus which will double the carrying capacity and travel over ramps and uneven surfaces in the restaurant space. Later this year, we will launch Servi Lift and this will be able to travel on elevators, enabling multi-floor delivery service, room service and even the delivery of files and samples in a hospital.

Bear Robotics