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The case for robots in restaurants

The service robot industry is growing rapidly in the restaurant sector due to pressures like labor supply and cost efficiencies. Although previous research found users may avoid interacting with human-resembling robots, Lu Lu and colleagues’ research shows the more humanlike a service robot’s voice and language style, the more positive the user response is.

They found that a humanlike voice has the greatest effect on positive responses for restaurant service evaluations, revisit intentions and word of mouth promotion, as it may increase guests’ trust and likelihood to interact with the robot. Having a humanlike language style also helped generate more positive perceptions from guests about the service. Meanwhile, having a humanlike physical appearance had a minimal influence on guest evaluations, indicating that voice and language style are the more crucial factors for the effectiveness of service robots.