Restaurant's New Hire Talks, Plays Music, and Works for Free

Faced with worker shortage, Tin Lizzie's in Deadwood, SD, recruited a robot server
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2022 1:25 PM CST

(Newser) – At the Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort in Deadwood, SD, a labor shortage left management scrambling to figure out a way to alleviate current workers' stresses. "We thought outside the box," Assistant General Manager Josh Thurmes tells Local 12 in introducing the casino eatery's newest staffer: a robot from Richtech Robotics that brings food and drink orders to the tables and transports dirty dishes back to the kitchen area when diners are done.

NewsCenter1 spoke with Anthony Rocke, Tin Lizzie's food and beverage director, who explains the robot is programmed to follow a grid that has been placed along the restaurant's ceiling, enabling it to travel from Point A to Point B. Rocke notes that in addition to playing music to alert people that it's coming, the robot also says such things as: "Please move, I have a job to do, I don't want to get fired."

Rocke says "hiring" a robot server is "the way of the future," and has proven to be a "topic of conversation" among patrons. Of course, Tin Lizzie's bottom line can only be boosted by its nonhuman helper, as it doesn't collect a paycheck, though Thurmes tells Local 12 it is indeed "worthy of making a wage." As for what nametag the robot sports, the restaurant held a robot-naming contest earlier this year—some suggestions were Short Circuit and Rosey from The Jetsons—but it's unclear which entry emerged victorious. (Read more robots stories.)

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