OpenTable restaurant data continues to show most foot traffic at eateries across America at near zero. There are some signs of life in Naples, Tampa, Houston, and Dallas. But for most of the country, pickup or curbside delivery has been the norm for the last several months.
At Bleu Sushi in Philadelphia, those who are picking up delivery are now greeted with a robot arm that will hand them their order. This allows owner Hendra Yong and his staff to practice strict "safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic while also having a little fun," said Eater Philly.
“We wanted to keep serving customers, in a safe way. So we came up with this idea. I can see people’s surprise when they come because no one else is doing this,” Yong said.
“When the robot bows, the customer bows,” he said. “It’s kind of funny to watch.”
Yong ordered the robot from Japan with the purpose of contactless pickup. He said there are still many functions that he's trying to figure out but says the robot is here to stay.
I was out delivering food last night and bleu sushi has this neat ass social distancing robot pic.twitter.com/yL5QBQGy3d— big naturals (@luifarted) May 3, 2020
Ready for some high tech take-out? This robot at Bleu Sushi in Center City has you covered. Customer: It makes me happy inside to know this is where we're at. That I can just pull up to a place and this random robot is going to hand me my food. @NBCPhiladelphia Tonight at 11 pic.twitter.com/9kVq056IMW— Denise Nakano (@DeniseNakanoTV) May 6, 2020
In the last month, we noted how a supermarket in the city took sanitizing to an entirely new level by dunking shopping carts into large vats of disinfectants to give customers the peace of mind that they won't contract the deadly virus. Last week, another supermarket installed "tent-like plastic enclosures" around cashier booths to keep essential workers safe while interacting with customers at checkout lines.
It's clear that a post-corona world is quickly changing the economy and how people interact with each other. It remains to be seen if social distancing will slow economic growth.