A robot cat works as a waiter in a Japanese restaurant.

robot cat

A cat like robot serves food at a noodle restaurant in Otaru in Hokkaido, northern Japan.

“Here’s a dish from your order, meow,” says the delivery robot cat. He has a cute touchpad emoji that is used as his face when he delivers dishes to the tables, helping the restaurant deal with a labor shortage.

According to Sapporo-based Anist, which runs the Hamikawa restaurant, a robot cat designed by Chinese firm Pudu has been operating there since Dec. 28. With a height of 129 cm and a diameter of about 57 cm, the robot can autonomously deliver four trays in its torso after the staff enters table numbers. Using its sensors, the robot avoids obstacles by saying, “Meow, let me pass.”

“This not only eased the workload on employees, but also helped with the coronavirus response by cutting off contact with people during work,” said Yoshiaki Matsushiro, Otaru store manager. “First of all, it’s nice that we can see more smiling customers.”

Many customers prefer to be served by a robot cat, he says, and some of them film videos.

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