It seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually happening here in Buffalo. 

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It’s no secret that many restaurants in Buffalo have been struggling to stay afloat since the pandemic. Thanks to a nationwide shortage of service industry workers coupled with the skyrocketing costs of food and supplies thanks to inflation, Western New York restaurants are often seeking out creative ways to stay open and serve their faithful customers.

So when it gets announced that a new restaurant will open its doors in the Buffalo area, it’s usually good news and a sign that our local economy is thriving. However, an eating spot opening in Amherst has hungry Buffalo diners raising their eyebrows.

A new restaurant opening next month on Transit Road in Amherst, Wind Japanese & Thai, will utilize robots to help with their service. 

Yes, really.

According to Buffalo Business First, customers will first place their order at the restaurant via a tablet set up at their table. Then, an actual human will come to your table to verify the order and offer other assistance. But when your order is ready, your food will be delivered to your table by one of a team of robots on the floor. The robot will also take your empty plates and bus them back to the kitchen. 

It may sound bizarre, but using robots in restaurants is becoming more and more common. The company that owns Wind Japanese & Thai, Wind Group, is a Canadian company that has been using robots in its other restaurants since the summer of 2021. The company explained that the robots are not there to replace human service industry workers entirely but rather assist them so they can have more efficiency and better serve their customers.

It still seems like a bummer that the service industry has come to rely on robots instead of employing actual humans. Bussing tables is a common entry-level job in the service industry and often a stepping stone to other restaurant careers. But honestly, we might have to check this new place out when it opens next month in Amherst out of sheer curiosity.

The question is, though - how much do you tip the robot?

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