At Arirang K, a beloved Korean barbeque hotspot in Johns Creek, Georgia, robots offer diners a uniquely futuristic experience and lighten the load on servers during peak business hours. Since June 2022, four “LG CLOi ServeBot” robotic assistants from LG Business Solutions USA have been assisting wait staff by accompanying them to guests’ tables while carrying multiple dishes at once.
“We’ve been serving gourmet Korean barbecue and sushi for just over three years now, and we are always looking for ways to improve the guest experience and provide better service without increasing costs,” said Miok Kim, general manager of Arirang K. “LG is one of South Korea’s most respected technology companies, so we were excited about the chance to try out their brand-new robot. Its cutting-edge sensors and programming accurately deliver food to customers and assist wait staff by reducing kitchen runs. Everybody liked the first two so much that we upgraded to four LG ServeBots to maximize service levels and guarantee that every customer gets to see the robots in action. The customer experience is also very important to us, and having the ServeBots move around the restaurant is a new and exciting experience for virtually all our customers.”
As expected, guests quickly fell in love with the friendly-looking LG ServeBots that help deliver their delicious food. Social media mentions quickly grew as patrons posted photos and videos, and staff were constantly greeted by wide-eyed guests talking about how cool it was to finally see real functional robots in their daily life.
The LG CLOi ServeBot used at Arirang K (Model LDLIM21) includes three shelves that can each hold up to 22 pounds, and they automatically follow commands to travel to specific tables or back to the kitchen, so kitchen and wait staff can load and unload food from its shelves. This cuts down on the number of times servers have to go into the kitchen, allowing them more time for attending to customers.
According to server Taylor Robinson, the ServeBots at Arirang K boost server efficiency and customer relations, in addition to generating excitement for patrons young and old alike.
“If you’ve ever been in a restaurant with Korean dishes, you know there’s often a lot of plates on the table, so I was definitely excited about using the LG ServeBots just because there’s so many things to carry,” Robinson explained. “The main dishes that come out are mostly hot and can be dangerous, so the LG ServeBots are able to help us by bringing those dishes out, and all we have to do is hand it off at the table. They take a lot off my shoulders, literally off my hands. I’m able to meet the customer at the table and hand the food off without any problems. Not to mention that customers just like seeing the robots in general, especially kids, who get really excited about them.”
Offering up to 11 hours of operation on a single charge, the LG CLOi ServeBot can be programmed for a variety of floor plans, enabling multi-point deliveries ranging from restaurants to office complexes.
"The LG CLOi ServeBot is already delivering major benefits for customers and workers at Arirang K, and it’s perfectly positioned to elevate experiences and efficiency in retail stores and hotels as well," said Jeffrey Weiland, B2B robotics team leader at LG Business Solutions USA.
As the first commercial service robot to receive UL certification for safe operation in consumer environments, the CLOi ServeBot's semi-autonomous operation offers businesses a plethora of immediate benefits, including the added attention and grassroots promotional value gained through customers’ social media sharing, Weiland explained.
According to Aaron Kim of Bravo E Tech, who introduced Arirang K to LG CLOi ServeBots, this successful implementation may well represent the future of food service.
“As a company that promotes new technologies to benefit the hospitality industry and its customers, we are always excited when we can show business owners how a new tool or product can captivate guests, encourage multiple visits and result in positive social media mentions,” Kim said. “While the owners of Arirang K weren’t sure how the robots would perform or fit in with their daily operations, they understood the value of being the first place their customers would experience a robotic wait staff assistant. After just two weeks, the first two LG ServeBots had already proved to be a hit among guests and staff, so they ordered two more. I think that speaks for itself.”
Bravo E Tech’s main business is producing and selling commercial-grade golf simulators, and its relationship with LG’s commercial display business led to conversations about how using the new LG CLOi ServeBot would fit perfectly with their business model, add a new revenue stream and help enlarge their industry reputation for injecting novel entertainment and technology experiences into restaurants.
Following the product’s initial success at Arirang K, the owners expressed great interest in using LG CLOi ServeBots in another upcoming restaurant, while Bravo E Tech plans to promote the technology to other partner businesses and may even recommend the robots for its franchisees and corporate Bravo E Tech locations.
Star Micronics Breaks into 2023 with Next-Level Solutions at NRF
Star Micronics, a manufacturer of mobile, point-of-sale (POS), and customer engagement technologies, is excited to present its latest POS hardware and technology at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2023 conference, held in New York City from January 15th to January 17th, at the Javits Convention Center.
NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show is the prime opportunity for those in the retail industry to cultivate thriving and rewarding business relationships with hardware manufacturers and software solution providers.
Star has launched a variety of modern POS and self-service solutions since the last NRF conference and will be showcasing:
The new mC-Label3 with the faster SteadyLAN+, CloudPRNT, & brand-new TetherLAN capabilities – an optimized label and receipt printing solution that does the work of multiple printers in one.
Brand new high-resolution barcode scanners.
The latest mPOP® (mobile point-of-purchase) with direct iOS MFi connectivity; power and data transfer for all-day use.
The acclaimed TSP143IV in two models; the TSP143IVUE with Android Open Accessory (AOA) support and a USB/LAN dual interface, and the TSP143IVUW with USB-C and dual-band WiFi connectivity.
A kiosk printing solution that uses repositionable linerless label paper, the SK1-311 SK.
The mG-T series of POS scales: the mG-T30 & mG-T60 models; ideal for shops, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets.
The extensive new line of mUnite modern tablet display stands and mounts.
New WiFi-loving models of the popular mC-Print2 & mC-Print3 series; two thermal printing solutions from the state-of-the-art mCollection®.
A wide variety of popular accessories, consumables, and portable thermal printers.
Want to see Star outside of the tradeshow floor? Star hosts a Sunday night reception on January 15th, from 8 – 11 pm: Star’s Rooftop Soiree against the breathtaking NYC skyline!
“Star Micronics has been investing in several areas to help channel partners succeed. Following our ‘Always Leading, Always Innovating’ decree, this includes diversifying and expanding our product offerings and bolstering our supply chain operations and sourcing,” said Mike Hanson, Executive Vice President of Star Micronics America. “Globally, Star has been strategic, expanding manufacturing capacity aggressively… Star is dedicated to providing our channel partners with a full solution suite.”
Uber Eats, Visa Partner for Greener Restaurant Packaging
Uber and Visa announced a new program designed to support small-and medium-sized businesses in their transition to green and sustainable packaging solutions, as part of a broader year-long effort to support SMBs who use Uber Eats to grow their businesses.
Together, the two companies will make $1 million accessible to qualifying Uber Eats restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Madrid to be used towards funding sustainable packaging solutions to help transition to a greener future, which hospitality industry research indicates is a top priority for 2023.
Uber and Visa have launched this new initiative in Davos, Switzerland, where the companies are highlighting impact from their shared 2022 Grants for Growth program that has supported US small business owners still recovering from the pandemic and other unexpected events. Merchants received microgrants of $10,000, used for payroll, paying outstanding debt to vendors, upgrading payment technology infrastructure, and other immediate operational costs.
"Building on the success of our shared support for small and medium-sized businesses, I'm very happy to be turning our efforts with Visa towards how we can help restaurant owners reduce packaging waste and contribute to the fight against climate change," says Pierre-Dmitri Gore-Coty, SVP and Global Head of Delivery for Uber. "Single-use packaging is used in nearly every takeout order worldwide—with Visa and our restaurant partners we can work towards reducing waste and helping small businesses thrive."
"With consumers continuing to express desires to live more sustainably, businesses across sectors have a notable opportunity to adopt more sustainable practices to meet this demand," said Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer, Visa Inc. "Visa is excited to expand on our partnership with Uber Eats to help small businesses to not be left out of the sustainable business transformations this moment requires."
A 2022 study by the US National Restaurant Association indicates that while the transition to sustainable packaging is a priority to many restaurants, the cost—and continued supply chain issues faced by the hospitality industry—make it difficult. It's the hope of Uber Eats and Visa that this new program is a small step in a positive direction for small business owners. Details of the new partnership, including how restaurants can qualify and apply for funding will be shared here in the coming months.
In 2020, Uber made the ambitious commitment to be a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040. To learn more, visit https://www.uber.com/us/en/about/sustainability/. Visa has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040, and in 2020 achieved carbon neutrality and transitioned to 100% renewable electricity across its operations. To learn more, visit https://www.visa.com/esg.
PopID and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Partner to Deliver Biometric Enabled Point-of-Sale and Self-Checkout Systems
PopID, a biometric fintech company, and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, retail's first choice for unified commerce solutions, have announced a partnership to integrate PopPay into Toshiba's front-end point-of-sale and self-service solutions running its ELERA Commerce Platform. PopPay enables consumers to authenticate their identity for payment and/or loyalty using artificial intelligence-based facial verification software. Toshiba will distribute the integrated solutions to the restaurant, quick service restaurant (QSR), convenience stores (C-store), grocery and other retail segments.
One of the first fully integrated solutions will feature PopPay biometric cameras incorporated with the Toshiba Pro-X Hybrid Kiosk and will be showcased at NRF 2023 in New York, on January 15-17, 2023. Customers who opt-in can scan items using the Pro-X scanner and then tender the transaction by selecting the on-screen PopPay button to have their face scanned. PopPay then authenticates loyalty and payment without requiring a card or phone.
"Whether at restaurants, convenience stores, or in other retail segments, consumer interest in non-traditional payment methods is growing exponentially across the globe with regions previously dominated by cash leapfrogging card transactions into mobile payments," says Rance Poehler, President and CEO of Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. "Even in the U.S., where card payments showed strong acceptance, the adoption of non-traditional payments has seen an uptick. We know the market is ready with Gen Z and Millennials trending in this direction."
Younger consumers have learned from prior generations that revolving credit debt is risky therefore driving them to pay via debit, electronic funds transfer, or Automated Clearing House (ACH) because there are no interest fees. MX reports that reduced consumer confidence has many Gen Z respondents supporting the growing interest in mobile payments. The same report cites that most respondents (73%) have connected mobile payment apps to their financial accounts. In addition to their aversion to credit, Millennials and Gen Z also seek more convenience in their retail interactions. The Food Industry Association reports that 53% of Gen Z and 55% of millennial shoppers want greater convenience in their future grocery shopping experience.
"With nearly a quarter of America's consumer spending running through Toshiba's point-of-sale solutions, Toshiba is the largest retail-focused solutions company in the U.S. and globally," said John Miller, CEO of PopID and Chairman of the investment company, Cali Group. "This partnership will enable Toshiba's customers to use our technology to increase revenue, drive loyalty engagement, improve operations, and lower costs while enhancing the overall customer experience."
"We are excited to partner with PopID to deliver speed, ease of use, and convenience to retailers and their shoppers," continued Poehler. "We look forward to implementing PopPay in new industries to meet growing demand across retail segments."
ELERA and its suite of solutions help free retailers from legacy technology constraints. With more control over store operations, retailers can enhance efficiency and productivity at scale. Integration of PopPay for automatic payments offers the retailer offers numerous benefits like faster transactions, higher throughput, reduced stress at checkout for the shopper leading to larger ticket size, increased loyalty participation driven by automation, and lower payment processing fees when integrated into point-of-sale systems, self-ordering kiosks, and drive-thru systems at QSR chains.
WorkJam, a digital frontline workplace, and Panda Express, an Asian dining concept in the U.S., announced their partnership to empower the restaurant brand’s 50,000 associates with WorkJam’s full suite of digital workplace tools. Panda Express associates across more than 2,200 U.S. locations will be able to access all of WorkJam’s tools including two-way communication, scheduling, learning and task management capabilities in a single convenient app.
“Panda Express and WorkJam are two culturally aligned companies with a strong commitment to innovation, continuous learning and people development,” said Steven Kramer, CEO of WorkJam. “We’re thrilled to announce this partnership with Panda Express and equip the company’s tens of thousands of associates with a comprehensive suite of digital workplace features that help them better communicate and collaborate with colleagues and management, have more control and flexibility with their schedules, and access career development opportunities. Joining forces is another step in the right direction to empower the frontline workers and directly impact their lives for the better.”
“Panda Express is a people-development company and prides itself in our people-first culture. Our goal is to continue to empower our associates, especially at our restaurants, with resources and tools that help them feel engaged in our company culture and make their day-to-day tasks simpler,” said Jeff Wang, Senior Vice President of Operations at Panda Express. “We are proud to support our Panda Family, so they can reach their potential and provide excellent dining experiences for our guests.”
Today’s frontline workers are seeking greater flexibility and control when it comes to when and where they work, the tasks they perform, their career growth path, and how they communicate with others throughout their companies. WorkJam is helping enterprises such as Panda Express attract, develop and retain top talent so they can provide consistently superior customer experiences that drive loyalty and lifetime value.