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Robots at the ready at Belfast International Airport


Belfast International Airport is trialling a robot service technology to enhance colleague and customer experience at the gateway.

The trial – the first of its kind in conjunction with SSP UK – sees 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 service robots to help servers with their day-to-day tasks, allowing them more time to focus on delivering outstanding customer service.

The airport and SSP believe that this innovative technology will allow staff to spend more time with customers, answering customer needs and providing a memorable experience.

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 for a true human-robot interaction.

Brian Carlin, director of commercial development at Belfast International Airport, said: “This trial will allow customers to experience the latest technology that hospitality has to offer.

“The robots will deliver a faster service as well as enhanced cleaning, which will work hand in hand to improve the overall dining experience. We look forward to seeing the feedback from the trial, it certainly will be a welcomed addition and support for the Sip and Stone team and all of our customers.”

While SSP UK & Ireland CEO, Richard Lewis, commented: “Investing in new technology with a view to improving the customer experience is one of the core tenets of our business at 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.”

A similar trial is ongoing in Germany and an additional trial is scheduled in the UK for later this year, with views to continue trialling the robots in different types of units to better understand which lead to the most improved customer experience.

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