Robot hired in Calgary restaurant to help ease staffing shortage

Click to play video: 'Robot replacement for restaurant helps ease staffing shortage' Robot replacement for restaurant helps ease staffing shortage
WATCH: Employment agencies are scrambling to keep up with staffing demands from employers. It is a job seekers' market and some are being selective. It's why many companies are taking some unconventional approaches to hiring. Jill Croteau explains – Sep 14, 2022

A province-wide labour shortage has led to a scramble to find qualified talent. Nearly all sectors are feeling the pressure. One restauranteur decided to find a high-tech solution to the staffing shortage.

OMO Teppan & Kitchen, a southwest Calgary restaurant has a robot to help serve up their Japanese cuisine. Owner, Eric Sit, said it’s worth the investment.

Eric Sit shows off OMOBOT. Jill Croteau/Global News

“It takes over (for) half a person so we consider the salary of half a person daily. It’s financially feasible ,” Sit said.

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He said the business isn’t seeing the volume of resumes it once did and needed to come up with new ways of enhancing the customer experience.

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“It was a natural progression to look for robotic replacement. It’s really enhancing what staff can do — they have more time to spend with the guests,” Sit said.

With current openings in the front and back of house, OMOBOT is helping fill the gap but can’t do all the jobs.

OMO Teppan & Kitchen chef. Jill Croteau/Global News

“The evolution of robotics is growing every year. I would love to have a robot chef — not that I’m replacing my chef — but that would be a fun thing to have. The chef has a good personality that the robot cannot replace,” Sit said.

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Employment agencies are scrambling to keep up with demands from employers. About Staffing CEO Sharlene Massie said there can’t be any hesitation in hiring.

“They need to hire quickly if they want the right person because qualified people have multiple offers on their plate,” Massie said.

Sharlene Massie, About Staffing CEO. Jill Croteau/Global News

“People are bouncing wherever they want and the employers are losing people through headhunting and they are in a demanding, urgent position and they have to hire urgently for that role,” Massie said.

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Laura Schlosser is a franchisee of Deville Coffee at the Willow Park location. She said social media has helped her staffing shortages.

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“We use the nearby communities by posting on their Facebook and we use Instagram and word of mouth to find people,” Schlosser said.

Willow Park’s Deville Coffee. Jill Croteau/Global Calgary

It has been a challenge looking for full-time staff and retaining them.

“It’s a never-ending chore in the café trying to find good staff,” Schlosser said. “They are being picky — they want to get the hours they want and get paid what they want and any benefits and they want to know if there are tips. There’s a lot of variables. You have to pitch to individuals that apply to try to convince them we are the best.”

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