With costs surging, restaurant owners are looking for ways to minimize costs wherever possible. This has led to the automation of many positions within the industry. McDonald’s, for example, has continually rolled out computer-ordering stations within restaurants in order to reduce overall staff numbers. However, a new restaurant opening in metro Phoenix is taking this a step further.
The Stone is a Korean restaurant that already has one location serving guests. However, it is the second restaurant, now open in Mesa, that has implemented robot servers. The server is retrofitted with a waiter tray and will bring food orders out to customers. There will be a physical server on hand in case of any questions, but the robot will aid in much of the heavy lifting, and make it easier to run food in and out of the kitchen to customers. This is believed to be the first robot server in metro Phoenix. And, if it proves successful, the robot server may be rolled out to other locations as well.
The Stone is located in the WinCo Foods shopping center at the intersection of East Southern and South Power in Mesa. Other establishments within the shopping center include Five Guys, Tuesday Morning Home Goods, and Maskadores Taco Shop.
For anyone who has not visited the original location, the menu is broken down into several categories, including appetizers, tofu soup, traditional meals, Stone bibim bap, tofu hot pot, noodles, and vegetarian. Appetizers include fresh soft tofu salad, mung bean pancakes, corn cheese, and fried dumplings. There are nine tofu soup variations, including dumpling soft tofu soup, Korean miso soft tofu soup, and seafood soft tofu soup. For anyone interested in a traditional meal offering from The Stone, the menu includes grilled brisket, pork belly kimchi with tofu, beef bulgogi, and LA-style ribs (which are short ribs marinated in Korean BBQ sauce).
All side dishes are prepared seasonally, depending on what is currently fresh on the market, so these dishes will vary throughout the year. The Stone is also a family-owned restaurant, and both locations are run by the same household. The original location can be found at 1870 West Main Street in Mesa, although only the new location will have the operating robot.
Hours of operation for the two restaurants are 11:30 AM until 9 PM on Sunday, then from 11 AM until 10 PM Monday through Saturday. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, from 3 PM until 6 PM.