Silvan Sutter (left), host Neuro Campus Hotel and Tim Moitzi, resident manager, welcome us in the lobby.
In March, a new kind of location opened its doors on the Lucerne Riviera: the Neuro Campus Hotel in the picturesque village of Vitznau looks rather inconspicuous from the outside – the facade resembles that of new apartments.
It is a certain part of the restaurant that promises something that has rarely been seen before and lures us into the cold of Mount Rigi: Das Morgen, a third of the Neuro Campus, is dedicated to the modernization and digitization of gastronomy and the hotel industry.
This is where SonntagsBlick meets the stars of the house: “Vitzi” and “Telli”, two service robots whose names pay homage to their homeland. The black machines on wheels have a simple conveyor belt that moves trays onto the tables and turn signals that signal even the slightest change of direction.
Red button is emergency brake
A big red button acts as an emergency brake, stopping everything; the robots have many open areas where fingers could get caught. So far, however, the button has only been pressed to get the attention of the human service staff.
In contrast to other service robot lines, “Vitzi” and “Telli” focus on function rather than form – no cat ears, no cute voices or internal loudspeakers; they seem almost boring. Their only purpose is to transport food from A to B.
The routes are kept short – there are maybe ten meters between the tables and the transfer point in front of the kitchen. There they are loaded with orders and sent on their errand. The goal of the robots are specially designed tables, equipped with power supply, network connection and IP address.
More time for the wishes of the guests
Repeated attempts to find the ideal path when approaching and positioning give the extremely patient appearing robots something like charm. Apart from that, their only task is to deliver food and drinks. My meal was simple: the smoked salmon paired with the fresh pesto and the pasta was cooked to perfection. Yes I was in a nice place.
The division of labor gives the human staff more time to concentrate on the individual wishes of the guest, emphasizes host Silvan Sutter. The aim of this arrangement is not to reduce human contacts, but to support the host trades – that remains the cornerstone.
While I watch the back and forth of the mechanical staff, Sutter apologizes – in the “Restaurant Zone” next door, human employees are still at work. And they occasionally need help looking after guests.