Amid a staff shortage, Dee Dee the robot joins the room at Sawatdee


Restaurant workers say Dee Dee saves them precious time.

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. – Do robots take our jobs?

Well, maybe in some industries, but certainly not in the restaurant industry where they hurt workers.

This is the case of the Thai restaurant Sawatdee in Maple Grove. Of course, when a new colleague starts, it’s normal to have reservations about them.

“She’s still getting used to the restaurant … still uh … learning,” Tyrus Jenkins said with a laugh. “And so as not to run into things. Learn her way around the restaurant, but yeah, she’s really good at her job.”

If you think, my God, this new worker looks terrible, well, give him a little slack. Dee Dee at Sawatdee is just a robot.

Jenkins said she grew up with him.

“We had Dee Dee a few weeks ago,” Jenkins said. “I would say at first, it was like, ‘Whoa, we’re getting a robot.’ I didn’t know what to expect at first, but it’s been pretty cool, and everyone seems to like it. “

Basically Dee Dee, which means “very good” in Thai by the way, is three rolling platters with a screen.

However, for Jenkins, she is precious because it saves him time.

“As a server, most of the time you have to be in five places at a time, so it’s good to have an extra helping hand,” he said. “To deposit an additional check; add appetizers. Let’s say someone needs some extra chopsticks. I can send Dee Dee to drop it off so I don’t have to worry about it. “

Yeah, sometimes she has a little performance anxiety. It gets stuck between where the carpet meets the tiles. However, Dee Dee is very good at her job and is also an audience favorite.

“I think that’s one of my favorite parts of having a robot, is sending it on your own without context and watching their reaction sort of,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “Some people say to me ‘Oh my god’, some people don’t care, others think it’s scary – the robots are taking over.”

On that note, Jenkins says he’s not at all worried about being replaced.

“He can’t talk to people. He can say greetings like ‘hello, hello, how are you?'” He said. “But when people walk into a restaurant, they’re looking for a dining experience – a personal experience with a waiter and everything, and I don’t think you can necessarily get that from a robot.”

Plus, another advantage of servers like Jenkins? Inches.

“She cannot open the doors,” he said. “That’s the problem. Like I said, she can’t take my job. She can’t open the door so I … have some job security.”

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