Amid staffing shortages, one restaurant able to invest in robot server

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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. — Short staffed, reduced hours, or just having to close. 

They’re all things customers and businesses have had to get used to in the pandemic. 

At DogSlinger in Stevensville, the new hot dog shop will be closed for a week. 

Owners posting on Facebook that despite being vaccinated, they still caught COVID and just about all of the staff is therefore a close contact.

Over in New Buffalo, Ghost Isle Brewing’s doors will be closed until spring.

Sharing the news with customers that those staffing and supply chain issues are just making it too difficult to operate.

Reopening in April, right as the tourist season picks back up, is a much better option. 

One restaurant that has been able to invest in a totally new concept is Silver Harbor Brewing Company in St. Joseph. 

“Servee is the robot, the staff has named him R-2-beer-2,” said co-owner Jaime Gross. 

R-2-beer-2 can run food, take orders, and even play music – but Silver Harbor doesn’t intend for this to replace any open server positions.

“It’s just meant to complement what they’re doing, the robot can follow right behind you,” said Gross. 

The pandemic is, however, opening their eyes to ways the industry can evolve.

“We were tuned into any opportunity that helped with these shortages and this gets the attention of a lot of people,” said Gross.

Silver Harbor is under a trial period for R-2-beer-2 until February, that’s when they’ll decide if the robot is a good permanent fit. 

 

 

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