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Airport Restaurant Uses Humanoid Robot to Assist, Entertain Guests

Global restaurateur HMSHost said it joined forces with SoftBank Robotics America (SBRA), the North American arm of SoftBank Robotics Holdings, to launch a new pilot program with Pepper the humanoid robot at the Oakland International Airport. Pepper will greet and engage with guests at HMSHost’s Pyramid Ale Taproom in Terminal 2, offering assistance, menu recommendations and directions to travelers, beginning their journeys with a memorable encounter.
Utilizing dedicated applications built specifically for HMSHost, Pepper will invite airport passengers to visit Pyramid Ale Taproom, offer them guidance on food and drink selections based on their personal taste preferences, and detail Pyramid’s award-winning craft beers. Through an interactive map displayed on Pepper’s screen, the robot can also help travelers find their gate, restrooms, exits and more. Pepper will proactively field these questions from airport visitors, enabling wait staff to focus on their customers.
“At HMSHost, we are always working to identify the next opportunity to elevate the guest experience at airports,” said HMSHost Vice President of Innovation Jim Schmitz. “Through constant innovation, we aim to engage with travelers and assist them on their journey. We are very excited to introduce them to Pepper as part of these efforts.”
With large expressive eyes and lifelike movements and gestures, the 4-foot-tall humanoid robot was designed to interact and communicate with guests. Pepper’s pilot with HMSHost continues the robot’s deployment with national and independent retailers and restaurants throughout North America. Utilized for brand and customer engagement roles, Pepper has brought value to its partners, generating increased foot traffic and reinventing the customer experience.
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