F&B operator SSP Group is trialling robot service technology at Belfast International Airport, the group’s first such pilot scheme in the UK.

The trial will see six service robots deployed later this month at the Sip & Stone Restaurant and Bar. Working with GW Robotics & Stephens Catering, SSP will test the effectiveness of using the robots to help servers with their day-to-day tasks, allowing the latter more time to focus on customer service.

Two types of robots will be introduced at Sip & Stone. A service robot called ‘BellaBot’ will bring food and drinks from the kitchen while ‘HolaBot’ will collect plates and cutlery once customers have left their tables. ‘HolaBot’ can be called remotely by colleagues to clear any section of the restaurant as necessary. Bella Bot is also equipped with a voice and screen system and can greet customers.

Richard Lewis, CEO of SSP UK & Ireland, said: “Investing in new technology with a view to improving the customer experience is one of the core tenets of SSP. The nature of our business means we serve a lot of customers, and we need to serve them quickly. These robots will enable our colleagues to spend more time front of house with our customers, ultimately improving their experience at our restaurants. We also want our customers to enjoy a unique, original experience. As always, we will be looking forward to receiving their feedback.”

A similar trial is ongoing in Germany and an additional trial is scheduled in the UK for later this year.

Image: SSP Group