Restaurant employees of the future may be modeled after warriors of the past. At least, that’s the impression we were left with after visiting Hajime, a restaurant staffed by dancing robot samurai waiters.
Actually located in Bangkok, Hajime’s a buffet-style Japanese restaurant that offers the choice of shabu-shabu (hotpot) for 499 baht (US $16.50) or yakiniku (grilled barbecue) for 599 baht ($20). Most items on the menu are standard Japanese shabu-shabu/yakiniku fare, but there are also several unique dishes using ingredients native to Thailand.
At each table there is a touch panel menu that is used to send your order to the kitchen. Once your food has been prepared, it is carried to you by one of the two robot samurai that move between the tables by following a track that runs from the kitchen. The setup is similar to that of kaiten-zushi, and the robots are separated from customers by a glass window.
However, the robot samurai does more than just bring food to your table. If there are dishes to be carried away it will first put down the food it is carrying, pick up the empty dishes with one hand, then pick up and pass the new dishes to the customer with the other hand.
While being waited on by a robot samurai is novel enough in itself, the robot will also occasionally break out into festive samurai dance for the customer’s entertainment.
The owner of the restaurant is said to have purchased the two robots from a Japanese company at a cost of 13,000,000 yen ($160,590) each. This might help explain why the menu prices are so high, even when compared to Japan.
Yet the investment seems to be paying off: day after day Hajime is packed with people who come to see the robot samurai serve their human masters.
Restaurant Name: Hajime (Menu available in English, Thai and Japanese)
Address: Monopoly Park, 3rd floor, 59/27 Rama 3 Rd. Thailand
Tel: 02-683-1191 or 02-683-1670