How Chili's Wants To Make Working In A Restaurant Easier

The ability to multitask is a necessary skill for working at many a restaurant. Servers at dining establishments can have a lot on their plates, including duties like taking orders, refilling drinks, and clearing tables, just to name a few. The demands of waiting tables can be so pervasive they follow restaurant workers into their dreams. According to Mental Floss, nightmares about being in the weeds are so common among waitstaff that they even have their own nickname — "waitmares."

Well, one restaurant is trying to offload a portion of that stress (and maybe help its employees sleep better) by getting its workers some help from an unexpected source. Chili's has hired Rita to work at 51 of its locations. If you think that doesn't sound humanly possible, then you're onto something. According to Forbes, Rita is not an ambitious waitress who will spend most of her time commuting, but a restaurant robot brought to "life" by Bear Robotics, and the types of tasks Rita can take on are pretty impressive.

Chili's new robot can sing Happy Birthday

After testing out Rita for nearly two years at 10 stores, Chili's is ready to introduce the robot to more locations. According to FSR Magazine, the new invention can take on a variety of tasks like leading customers to their table, pitching promotions or incentive programs, delivering food, and cleaning tables. As evidenced on Twitter, Rita can even lead the birthday song! Though Chili's technology appears to be on the cutting edge, it isn't the first chain to enlist the help of robots. FSR Magazine points out that robots are already used in some capacity at Chipotle, Panera, Jack in the Box, White Castle, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

If you enjoy seeing the smiling faces of some of your favorite servers, don't worry. Rita arriving at your local Chili's doesn't necessarily mean you'll be seeing less of your server. Wade Allen, SVP of Innovation at Chili's parent company Brinker International told FSR Magazine that 77% of customers reported that Rita's help has allowed their servers to spend more time with them. While Rita isn't perfect, Forbes reports the robot has a high success rate and functions without making errors more than 99% of the time. Who knows, that small margin of error may be enough to give servers someone to blame for a guest's burnt cake.