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How One Northern Restaurant Chain Have Tackled The Staffing Shortage

Like most restaurant operators at the moment The ‘TCB Unlimited Dining Experience – Redefined’, who operate nine restaurants across the North West of England have had to adapt to challenges thrown up by the recent pandemic and subsequent staffing shortages.

TCB, who recently rebranded from THE Chinese Buffet, were founded in Bolton in 2006 and have operated successfully since then as an ‘eat as much as you like’ buffet style restaurant.

The Pandemic Changed Everything!

However, when covid hit, all that changed and of course table service became mandatory if they wanted to remain open.

As a ‘buffet’ service this of course was impossible, so they had to change everything!

Table service meant the introduction of an ordering system and increased front of house staff to facilitate food delivery to tables, which had previously been a help yourself buffet.

All this at a time when staff were becoming a scarce commodity!

The New Normal

The whole operation had to be redesigned and that meant it was time for some creative thinking.

An app which was already being developed, was improved and brought into service quickly, meaning customers could order their food and drinks directly from the app, while sitting at their table.

To maintain their USP as a fixed price, all you can eat service, this meant an unlimited number of orders per table and a huge increase in FoH service demand.

Bella Bot Saved The Day

The answer has come in the form of FoH Service Robots from Chinese tech manufacturer PuDu.

Bella Bot is a service delivery robot which when used in conjunction with FoH ‘humans’, who now have more time to engage the customers in a more friendly and helpful way, creates a far more mutually beneficial customer experience.

Bella Does The Legwork!

Among the many benefits Bella brings to the restaurant operation is the reduction in human leg work making the countless journeys to and from the kitchen or servery.

In fact at TCB, during initial trials of the robot, in two restaurants, Bella clocked up over 67 miles of travel, miles which otherwise would have been walked by FoH staff.

This of course was an immediate relief to the already extremely hard working staff. 

I couldn’t help thinking about this when just before Christmas, my wife and I visited a local garden centre and stopped off in their cafe for a bite to eat.

The cafe was mobbed, as Father Christmas was in the house and many families had come along to see him.

I watched waitresses busily taking orders and running back and forth between kitchen and tables, often carrying large trays of plates and drinks, barely having time to engage with customers before they disappeared again for the next load.

Not a great customer experience and one which would have left staff physically exhausted by the end of their shift!

Bella could have massively reduced their workload, leaving them more time to engage with customers.

Many Other Benefits of Robots

As well as easing the physical workload of serving staff, allowing for more effective customer interaction and the massive cost saving of employing more demanding FoH staff.

Bella Bot costs less than £1 per hour to run!

There are many more benefits to hiring Bella, according to those who’ve managed both human staff and robots.

She makes for much easier training and management, never asks for time off or holidays, will work all day seven days a week and never complains!

What more could you ask from a member of your team?

Hutech Robotics are one of the main distributors of PuDu Robots in the UK and we’re happy to talk to anyone who’d like to find out more about how Bella could help in their restaurant, bar or cafe.

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