Robot servers are gliding into restaurants across Metro Vancouver and we can’t get enough of them.

There’s an old X-Files TV episode, which shows Mulder and Scully dining at a restaurant and, because it’s completely automated and manned by robot servers, they don’t feel obliged to leave a tip.

Robot server and human wait staff at Happy Lamb Hot Pot Restaurant in Richmond.

Robot server and human wait staff at Happy Lamb Hot Pot Restaurant in Richmond.

But as it turns out, even robots have feelings so the pair come under violent attack from technology at every turn, from their smart homes to a swarm of vicious drones. It’s not until Mulder begrudgingly offers a tip, that they are finally left alone.

Thankfully, the robots servers at several Vancouver area restaurants are not as temperamental, though we did leave a decent tip at Happy Lamb Hot Pot in Richmond, just to be on the safe side.

BellaBot Robot Server

On a more serious note, robot servers were introduced in Greater Vancouver during the pandemic to not only help pick up the slack when actual humans were being warned to stay home, but also as a way to reduce direct food handling.

And they’ve been a hit — not just with the kids.

We recently visited Happy Lamb Hot Pot in Landsdowne Centre in Richmond, where we met “Bella,” short for BellaBot, a robot server with the face of a smiling cat, which can carry four trays at a time, each large enough to hold one or two plates, depending on their size. Once the robot arrived at our table, a human server placed the trays and dishes in front of us.

Bella is programmed with a camera, light-detection system and short-range technology, which allows it to wind its way around the restaurant and avoid collisions with patrons, something I witnessed as the robot scooted around a man walking in its path. It’s fun to watch, especially listening to the robot server play happy music while rolling around the restaurant.

Broth pot at Happy Lamb Hot Pot restaurant in Richmond.

Broth pot at Happy Lamb Hot Pot restaurant in Richmond. Photo courtesy: Happy Lamb Hot Pot

In case you’ve never visited a hot pot restaurant, it consists of a boiling pot of broth, flavour of your choice, which sits on a burner in the middle of the table. Diners use the broth to cook the meats and veggies of their choice. For the uninitiated, the experience is very fondue-like — minus the robot.

A meal at Happy Lamb is also a visual feast, with the food beautifully presented. Don’t miss the table near the kitchen with numerous condiments, including chopped peanuts, chili oil, sesame oil, cilantro and more. The day we visited, the small free dessert section offered cookies, cake squares and fresh fruit.

Vancouver Restaurant Robot Servers

Currently there are five Vancouver area restaurants using a robot server. Happy Lamb Hot Pot has two locations, with a robot server at each. You’ll also find robot servers at Joy Cafe, Kamei on Broadway in Vancouver,  and Bento Nara in Burnaby.

Vancouver Robot Servers

Kamei on Broadway

This popular Japanese restaurant recently added a robot server to deliver their Party Boat Dinner Set for two.

Kamei on Broadway has been at the same locations since 1972 and is one of the few places in town that offers unique Japanese Tatami rooms or private booths. The staff are friendly and accommodating. You can also bring your own birthday cake.

Address: 601 W Broadway Unit 12 Vancouver, B.C
Phone: 604-876-3388

Happy Lamb Hot Pot

Address: 1788 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.
Phone: 604-563-4868

Joy Cafe

Joy Cafe has a dim sum menu, as well as many traditional Chinese favourites, including noodle soups and curries.

Address: 525 Southwest Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C.

Burnaby Robots Servers

Bento Nara

Bento Nara is a Korean family-owned restaurant offering everything from ramen to sushi to bento boxes.

Address: Lougheed Shopping Centre, 116-9855 Austin Road, Burnaby, B.C.
Phone: 778-239-4081

Richmond Robot Servers

Happy Lamb Hot Pot

Address: Lansdowne Centre,  5300 No. 3 Road, Unit 405, Richmond, B.C.
Phone: 604-231-8966

Have you been to a Bellabot restaurant, and if so what was your experience?

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Award-winning journalist and travel writer, based in Vancouver, B.C. Co-chair of the B.C. Chapter of the Travel Media Association of Canada, member of the Society of American Travel Writers.