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Sapporo soba noodle restaurant introduces food-serving cat robot, 1st in Hokkaido

The cat robot that serves dishes is seen at the Hitsujigaoka-dori branch of the Shingozen-soba Hamikawa restaurant in Sapporo's Kiyota Ward on Nov. 28, 2021. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

SAPPORO -- A soba noodle restaurant in this north Japan city introduced a cat robot serving food on Nov. 28 -- a Hokkaido first.

    The robot, named "Bella Bot," at the Hitsujigaoka-dori branch of the Shingozen-soba Hamikawa restaurant in Sapporo's Kiyota Ward speaks in a cute voice.

    The cat robot moves at the Hitsujigaoka-dori branch of the Shingozen-soba Hamikawa restaurant in Sapporo's Kiyota Ward on Nov. 28, 2021 while showing various facial expressions. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

    Bella Bot is 129 centimeters tall and about 55 centimeters in diameter. It has four layers of trays, and is programmed to carry dishes automatically to customers' tables. Its face is a touch screen, and shows various expressions when its ears are touched.

    The robot was introduced at the eatery to avoid in-person contact as a measure to prevent coronavirus infections and to ease labor shortages. It can also promote items and sing, and the restaurant plans to utilize such functions in the future.

    Manager Yukie Komi, 30, commented: "I'm glad that customers ranging from children to the elderly enjoy it. We want it to perform well during the busy time at the end of the year (for serving traditional noodles to mark the changing of the year). We'd like to offer services that can entertain customers, not just serve food."

    (Japanese original by Taichi Kaizuka, Hokkaido Photo Group)

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