Much in life is a matter of expectation. For example, from my visit to the first robotic restaurant in South Asia in Kathmandu , I expected him to leave me impressed, wondering what such a robot can do today. At least a bit.
"Food meets technology" in the shopping center
Oh well. Sequentially:
Naulo“ heißt das „voll digitalisierte“ Lokal in Nepals Hauptstadt Kathmandu , das im vergangenen Jahr eröffnet wurde und seine Gäste seitdem in der teuersten Straße der Stadt, der Durbar Marg, empfängt. " Naulo" is the name of the "fully digitized" eatery in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu , which was opened last year and has since received its guests in the city's most expensive street, the Durbar Marg. They are lined with boutiques, hotels and chic restaurants, at the end of which stands the former royal palace. To the street advertises a black sign for the "Naulo", then the logo of the restaurant, a picture of a waiter robot and the slogan "Where food meets technology". Given the noble address, the premises are surprisingly unspectacular: The restaurant is located on the first floor of a small shopping mall called "Capital Mall" and does not even have its own toilet. Guests use the customer toilet, which is shared by all other customers of the "Capital Mall".
The "Naulo" ("naulo" means "new" in Nepalese) is not big. The deco, the glued night sky and the dark blue light make but quite something and fit the robot theme. When my friend and I enter the restaurant on a late Sunday afternoon, pop music is on. At the entrance are four robots, two left, two right, ready with their trays. They are mint green and white and they are just above my shoulder, they fulfill many of the childish scheme criteria and squint in the room with gigantic eyes, but they do not greet us as we pass them by.
Instead, a friendly waiter welcomes us after we have decided on a seat by the window. He pushes a button somewhere at our table and connects him with one of the supposed technological wonders. The order takes a few minutes later but no robot, but he personally. Actually there are integrated touchscreens in the tables. Ours, however, does not seem to work, so the waiter hands us a tablet to select our food and drinks - while standing by and waiting.
Culinary you can not classify the place anywhere: Everything is here, from burgers and sandwiches to pasta and pizza to Indian curries and Nepalese Momos. The prices are - next surprise - moderate, at least they are not as high as they would in this area of Kathmandu, and then in such an unusual place, would be conceivable. However, in the end, as in many restaurants in Nepal , ten percent service charge and 13 percent VAT on the bill amount.
We order mint lemonade, quesadillas as a starter and sizzler as the main course, sit back and look around. Only two more tables are occupied and of the robots is not too much to see. Only one of them unloads a semicircle between the kitchen and the entrance. Three employees watch him attentively. Wait a minute, are they always driving so slowly?
While we are wondering, our waiter brings the mint lemonades. Yes, exactly, the waiter. He does not miss our amazement. Smiling, he tells us that the robots only carry the food but not the drinks to the table. A moment later, we know why: The robots move in slow motion on the floor and stuttering so much that hardly a glass of healing and fully arrived at the guest. It takes almost a minute for the waiter robot, with its googly eyes and shining ears, to be about twenty yards from the kitchen to the tables by the window. To see with pain is that.
Ten minutes later no robot has been at our table, because the Quesadillas brings us also the nice young man from before. He does not want the starter to be cold, he says. Only the Sizzlers, our main dishes, come to us by robot. Determinedly the digital employee jerks off with the steaming food at the other end of the room and steers, right under the worried eyes of the staff, straight to the wrong table, before he finally gets the turn and finally stands in front of us.
Hello. " Hello. "Please remove all the food items from the tray," a woman's voice rattles from the robot body and we have barely lifted the plates - of course, there is a waiter of flesh and blood next to it and helps - the flashing helper pushes a terse "Thank you. Enjoy your meal, "before turning away and turning back. And that's it. End of the performance.
The food is not a revelation, but it tastes passable. The food is here but secondary anyway. Disillusioned, we leave the robot restaurant. Could we have started a conversation with the rolling plastic waiters ourselves? Maybe already. At home, I find a Youtube video in which the robots from the "Naulo" nod their heads, say their name ("Ginger") and, among other things, can respond to questions about their health and their place of residence. As guests in the "Naulo" we did not notice.
Does this look like the service of the future?
We have noticed that the machine people in the robot restaurant do more work than they accept the staff. Constantly, the waiters have to position the robots and make sure they reach their destination. Will there eventually be more robots than people in gastronomy? After my visit to the "Naulo" I can not imagine that anymore.