Desperate for workers, South Florida restaurants send in more robots

Tulloch, owner of Circle House Coffee in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, shows his Tully Arm, a patented device that holds hand sanitiser and a credit card reader where drive-thru customers can make a touch less payment. — Sun Sentinel/TNS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida: After months of surviving with a skeleton crew at Fort Lauderdale’s Circle House Coffee, Stephen Tulloch’s newest drive-thru worker, a swinging robotic arm, has increased efficiency, raised morale – and has even lured new servers to the coffeehouse.

A metal-jointed arm that swings out to cars in the drive-thru, Tulloch’s Tully Arm does credit-card payments and even spritzes free sanitiser into drivers’ hands. Freed up from handling credit cards, Circle House staff has more time to mix coffee drinks, fix breakfast sandwiches and schmooze with customers. Which brings in more tips.

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