Restaurant Plans to Replace Staffers With Flying Drones — What Could Go Wrong?

This is not the drone you're looking for.
This is not the drone you’re looking for. Photo: Timbré

Singapore’s restaurant industry is dealing with a 7,000-server shortage right now, and one chain, Timbré, has found an army of automated drones to pick up the slack. It’s unclear whether Timbré is aware of the recent TGI Fridays drone promotion that “literally chipped off” part of a reporter’s nose, but who has time to worry about those kinds of things? Drone manufacturer Infinium Robotics says it’s totally safe, since their drones are equipped with cameras and sensors that prevent collisions.

Here’s a test flight, dubiously illustrating their ability to deliver a solitary drink from the bar:

As the BBC points out, the drones can handle the equivalent weight of a pizza, some beer, and two glasses of wine. Timbré wants to install eight of them at $40,000 to $80,000 a pop in each of its five restaurants by the end of 2015, but they “still want human touch,” drones won’t entirely replace human staffers, or take orders — at least for the time being. In fact, the drones won’t even fly right to diners’ tables. Instead, they’ll fly food to a staging area for pickup by waitstaff, who will be free to focus on “engaging customers” or “highlighting … promotional dishes.” And also, presumably, helping bandage up any customers who might accidentally bump into one of these robotic flying food runners.


Restaurant Plans to Replace Staffers With Flying Drones — What Could Go