Pakistan’s first robot waitresses are serving up smiles for customers at an upscale pizza restaurant in the ancient city of Multan, better known for its centuries-old Sufi shrines, mango orchards and handicrafts.
Rabia, Annie and Jennie greet customers and bring them their pies at Pizza.com, where owner Osama Jafari — who built the prototypes himself — says the response has been a surge of new business.
“We went to a lot of places, but my uncle said that in this restaurant a robot serves and when the robot served us pizza we felt very happy,” customer Osama Ahmed, 12, told AFP.
“It is an innovation,” another customer, Hamid Bashir said. “It feels good to be served like that and it is a good entertainment for the children.”
Jafari said he was inspired by videos of robot waiters in China. The 24-year-old, who studied engineering at Islamabad’s National University of Science and Technology, said he began working on a prototype with the support of his parents.
“The response that we got is actually tremendous. People are loving it. My friends, family members and all the local people here,” he said.
Jafari said he sourced and fabricated all parts for the robots locally, building them for 600,000 rupees (US$6,000).
He is already working on the next generation, which he says will be more interactive, able to respond to customer’s questions, and hopes to spread his robot staff to his family’s other restaurant in the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad.