The newest hire at a Victoria, B.C., restaurant can deliver food and take away dirty dishes, all the while humming a tune. It also happens to be a robot.
The robot, named Robbie, has been a huge help, says Mantra restaurant manager Dharna Sohal.
"It's a great helping hand, I would say. It's so fun and interactive. It's very easy to use. That has been such a great help to my team," said Sohal to host Robyn Burns on CBC's All Points West.
The robot is built by Canadian tech company GreenCo Robots and can be programmed for multiple purposes.
Sohal says the robot has been pre-programmed to navigate the restaurant's tables by itself.
"It's so easy for our staff to use this ... even our customers can use it," she said.
It performs functions akin to a busser with its ability to drop off and pick up dishes. It cannot speak or take orders, Sohal says.
Not meant to replace workers, says manager
While many restaurants across the country have been struggling with a labour shortage, Sohal says the robot is not meant to replace workers.
"It is in no way taking away anybody's job. Again, it's just here to help my employees. To keep safe. To maintain certain distance if they don't need to be there and just have fun with it," she said.
The robot does have one party trick up its proverbial sleeve — it can belt out a pre-programmed tune.
"We're getting lots of birthday party reservations because it does sing Happy Birthday," Sohal said with a laugh.
The robot retails for about $37,000.
LISTEN | Restaurant manager Dharna Sohal tells Robyn Burns about Robbie the robot