Sodexo, USA

Trial for a robot in the Lufthansa lounge

In the Lufthansa lounge at Dulles International Airport in Washington, operator Sodexo is testing a robot from Bear Robotics.
Sodexo
In the Lufthansa lounge at Dulles International Airport in Washington, operator Sodexo is testing a robot from Bear Robotics.

Caterer Sodexo is making its first foray into robotics as operator of the Lufthansa Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport. It is intended to support the service staff in the lounge. However, the new colleague is not intended to replace anyone.

LUFTH-I is the name of the digitally, sensory and algorithmically controlled new colleague. It is intended to help improve the overall hospitality experience for guests in the Lufthansa Lounge at one of the largest commercial airports in the USA.

The goal: to free up the team to focus on other tasks. "Airport lounges are now more than ever a welcome change from crowded airports and busy schedules, and we are always looking for innovations to improve the overall guest experience," the service provider comments on the innovation, referring to "an extra pair of hands to allow our team to focus on other tasks that allow for more direct contact with guests."

The robot saves staff time and is intended to free up space for more time with the guest.
Sodexo
The robot saves staff time and is intended to free up space for more time with the guest.
LUFTH-I's tasks include providing a mobile storage area in the lounge for dishes and glasses that need to be cleared away, thus saving the service staff distances. LUFTH-1 could also assign seats to arrivals at the lounge entrance or replenish food and drinks more quickly.

"Leave the running to the robots," is the motto of the Californian start-up Bear Robotics. In Germany, too, more and more restaurant operators are taking this advice to heart, driven by the increasing shortage of staff. The three basic models are equipped with additional trays, buckets for cleaning operations or glass holders for more stability. The smallest has room for trays and buckets, while the largest handles the dishes of up to 10-person tables. The ServiLift model has compartments with doors and transports food and drinks to remote offices.

Charged for four hours, the robotic battery is said to be able to provide up to 12 hours of service. On-site installation is said to take just under fifteen minutes, and the units can be configured to fit on-site space. A dashboard provides 24/7 documentation, including analyses of performance.

For the time being, a test phase is running in Sodexo's Lufthansa airport lounge. After that, it will be decided whether the new colleague will survive the trial period and whether he will be allowed to welcome new colleagues.


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