The future is now. The proof is in Hamilton County, where automated machines are providing food service in senior living facilities.
Since May, robots have helped staff at Allisonville Meadows Assisted Living at 10312 Allisonville Rd. in Fishers. However, they aren’t replacing employees; they are meant to help improve hospitality.
Bear Robotics is a food service robotics company, creating automated machines that operate across the United States. Doug Lane is part of its sales team and leads a partnership with Direct Supply.
Lane said Direct Supply is a distributor that is well established in senior living environments. The partnership allowed Bear Robotics to extend services to assisted living communities, including in Hamilton County.
“Our goal is to improve the quality of service in dining by automating repetitive tasks that occupy a lot of staff time,” Lane said.
Those tasks include running out to the floor from the kitchen, busing dishes or even taking orders. All that can be delegated primarily to robots, which allows staff time to better connect with guests.
“This isn’t a replacement for people on-site,” Lane said. “We want them to get to stay up (in) front of the house, actually providing service. It’s more about being present.”
When an order is ready, it is placed on a cylinder-shaped robot called Servi. The robot can be programmed to deliver food anywhere within a facility while avoiding objects in its path. Customers can also make orders through the robot, which Lane said lightens the workload for employees.
“This tool could help support staff you have and maybe make the burden that’s on them less,” Lane said. “We’ve seen better retention in staff.”
Bear Robotics servers are also used at The Barrington of Carmel and Rose Senior Living in Carmel.