New Denny's robotic server at northeast Fresno location

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There's a new employee at Denny's and this one doesn't work on tips.

The national restaurant chain is introducing a robotic server at a handful of locations, including one in northeast Fresno.

"It is so nice and so cool, it's awesome," one customer said.

While guests get a kick out of the new feature, management says the robot is helping to lighten some of the load on its staff.

Meet Maple, the armless robot that delivers food and takes away dirty dishes at the Shaw and First location.

A human is still needed to take food orders and get drink refills, with the robot serving as backup without involving another person.

"They can be taking an order or have someone in the back loading it up, they could be taking an order at a table, they could be pouring coffee, they need the robot at the table and deliver the food," said District Manager Don Bruton.

Denny's is experimenting with the robotic assistant while it faces staffing shortages, but management says the technology won't eliminate jobs.

"It fills the gap, as far as it assists the server," Bruton said. "It's not here to take a job, it is to enhance the employee's job."

The plan calls for Denny's to test out the robotic assistant for a few weeks and then re-evaluate.

But by the looks of things, this robot could just be what revolutionizes the restaurant industry.
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