January 14, 2022

Food Services Group Pilots Robot

BY LeadingAge

When finding part-time staff to serve meals and clean tables became difficult and food service company Culinary Services Group began reassigning staff to cover the task, it turned to a robot for assistance. A pilot project at Springwell Senior Living Community in Baltimore, MD, employed a robot at The Homestead dining area.


Food Management profiled the pilot in “Senior dining facility pilots its first service robot.”


The Homestead was chosen because it fits needed characteristics such as a one-level kitchen and dining room and a small venue near headquarters where team members can observe the pilot’s progress.


No workers were removed to allow for the robot, and service needs will drive future decisions regarding the use of robots, said the article. “We plan to keep our current staffing model intact but elevate our service abilities,” Culinary Services Group Director of Innovation Carolyn Wescott told Food Management.


The robot has brought consistency to staff members’ duties, which has also helped residents to feel more secure, noted Culinary Services Group Mid-Atlantic Manager Nicole Linke.


In September 2021, the pilot tested a Servi robot by Bear Robotics, and in January 2022 it is testing a Matradee by Richtech Robotics. Servi has required little maintenance, said the article.

The Future of Robots in Senior Living

Culinary Services Group joins two continuing care retirement communities in testing robots; recent Tech Time articles “LeadingAge Member Hires Robot” and “Servi Robot Improves Mealtime at CCRC” share details. Tech Time also recently shared a snapshot of Amazon’s new home assistant robot, Astro, in “Amazon Offers New Innovations for Senior Care.” 

However, a robot may not be coming to the senior living community near you in the near future. A recent article in McKnight’s Senior Living, “Companion robot will not go mainstream in 2022,” noted the renewed interest in social robotics in 2021, yet indicated that the need for further refinement of the technology would limit the technology’s adoption in 2022.