Pizza Hut deploys robot to serve up quicker service

ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Robots make for quicker service, or so Pizza Hut hopes, with its first test droid to take customers' orders and process payments.

Until Sunday, diners at the chain's Safra Punggol outlet will be the first in South-east Asia to put the humanoid server through its paces.

Or should it be "her"? The robot will greet patrons in a female voice, and customers placing an order have to greet it and pair their Mastercard Masterpass accounts through the Pizza Hut Singapore mobile app. They then give their orders and show a QR code that provides their table information. Payments are made via Masterpass. The robot is not exposed to payment instruments or sensitive data such as customer credentials.

The robot will assist customers alongside other staff members, and customers' feedback will help the company decide if it will stay.

"Singapore is an innovation hub and we are really proud to bring this here," said Mr Tobias Puehse, vice-president, Labs at Mastercard Asia-Pacific, seen here with the robot. The technology is developed by Japan-based SoftBank Robotics, makers of the "Pepper" robot, which has been used in customer service.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline 'Pizza Hut deploys robot to serve up quicker service'. Print Edition | Subscribe