Take a look at 20 of the cutest and creepiest robots in stores and restaurants today

PepperSoftbank’s humanoid Pepper robot is used around the world.
  • Robots are increasingly taking over retail spaces and restaurants.
  • Their role has become especially vital during the pandemic as businesses look for new ways to enforce social distancing and no-contact service.
  • We rounded up 20 retail and restaurant robots. It’s up to you to decide: are they cute, creepy, or both?
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The robots were created by man. So far, they haven’t evolved, rebelled, or formed a plan to kill all humans, but they’re definitely more present than ever in daily life.

In the last few years, robots have entered our public spaces in a way only previously imagined in science-fiction books, movies, and TV. They have leapt from popular imagination into the aisles of warehouses and grocery stores, into restaurant kitchens and dining rooms.

Not only do robots play an important health and safety role during the pandemic – often testing for coronavirus and doing temperature scans – they’re more necessary than ever before to allow businesses to reopen in a safe and socially distanced way.

Take a look at some of the Most Valuable Droids of retail below and decide for yourself: cute or creepy? Or both?

A restaurant in Hangzhou, China has a robot chef that looks like Ultraman, a Japanese anime character. This chef robot slices noodles in the kitchen.

Visual China Group via Getty Images


Flippy, a robot chef arm made by Miso Robotics, is used in stadiums and select restaurants. This fall, White Castle will start testing Flippy in one of its restaurants.

Miso Robotics

Read more:
Meet Flippy, White Castle’s new robot chef that can fry food and flip burgers

In Japan’s Huis Ten Bosch amusement park, a robot named “Andrew” makes okonomiyaki at Hen-na Restaurant.

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

World Economic Forum

As part of KFC’s “fast food of the future” initiative in Russia, the chicken chain is testing a fully-automated fried chicken preparation system.

Gavrill Gigorov/TASS via Getty Images

The Takeout

Starship Technologies’ tiny sidecar-on-wheels robots have been tested widely as a convenient (and now contactless) food and grocery last-mile delivery method. Starship robots have been tested by Postmates and Doordash.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Read more:
Investors are betting $US85 million that hungry students will normalize these robot food delivery workers of the future

Softbank’s humanoid Pepper robot is being used around the world. In Germany, chain grocer Edeka introduced Pepper robots in its stores to help people social distance and stay safe during the pandemic.

Daniel Bockwoldt/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Retail Tech Innovation Hub

Walmart has staffed 1,000 of its stores with Bossa Nova robots, which stock shelves and help keep track of inventory. The six-foot robots contain 15 cameras that can scan aisles.


almart is bringing robots to 650 more stores as the retailer ramps up automation in stores nationwide

In Moscow, Russia, some Lenta supermarkets are staffed with Promobot robots, which roll around the stores and announce discounts and promotions. They also recognise regular customers and can do product demonstrations.

Andrei Makhonin/TASS via Getty Images

Grocery Dive

In 2019, regional supermarket chain Giant Eagle started testing Tally robots at its stores. Tally robots, which are made by Simbe Robotics, scan shelves to keep track of stock.

Simbe Robotics

Supermarket News

Hundreds of Stop and Shop and Giant Foods stores are home to the googly-eyed robot Marty, who has become a customer favourite. Marty also played a key role in a murder suspect’s alibi in January.

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Read more:
A high-profile murder case hinges on an alibi involving a googly-eyed grocery-store robot named Marty

There are many restaurants around the world that utilise waiter robots, including this one in Qingdao, China. “Tete” delivers food to guests and can speak over 200 words.

Visual China Group via Getty Images


This Chinese server robot made by Kewang Trade Corporation plunges deep into uncanny valley territory with its human-like visage. It can also carry more than 35 kilograms (just over 77 pounds).

Visual China Group via Getty Images


A robot waiter at a restaurant in Wuhan, China has expressive eyes on an LED screen.

Visual China Group via Getty Images


Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao employs non-humanoid robot servers that make facial expressions and speak to guests.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Read more:
A massively popular Chinese restaurant chain is trying to take over the world with snarky robots, free snacks and hand massages, and a noodle dancer. Here’s why I loved it.

“Robot” restaurant in Chennai employs seven female-esque robot waiters. The robots glide around on magnetic strips to serve customers their food.

Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images


Meet Ruby the robot waitress, who serves customers at Drink and Spice Magics restaurant in Dubai.

Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

The National UAE

In Naulo restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal’s first robot waiter, Ginger, speaks both English and Nepali, and was built by 25 Nepali engineers.

Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images

Dunya News

The Gran Caffé Rapallo in Liguria was the first restaurant in Italy to employ robots as waiters.

Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images


In Kabul, Afghanistan, a Japanese robot named Timea that serves patrons of Times Fast Food has earned the nickname “Nazo,” or “beautiful” in the Dari language.

Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

The National

The Pepper Parlor in Tokyo, Japan is staffed by Softbank’s Pepper and NAO robots. Pepper robots, which are used around the world, serve patrons while NAO robots dance and entertain them.

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

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