LEXINGTON, Va. – In his first week on the job, Alfredo’s already making a great impression. He’s the newest employee at Kendal at Lexington Retirement Community and he just so happens to be a robot.
Director of Culinary Judy Kurtz said Alfredo’s primary job is to bus dishes.
“It’s a rather long distance from the dining room back to the kitchen to the dish room. And we thought if we could get a runner or busser to facilitate that, it would take a little less stress off the staff,” said Kurtz.
Alfredo arrived on Monday, mapped out the floor plan, and is already hard at work.
With just the press of a button, Alfredo will get a head-start by setting stations throughout the dining room and kitchen. He can also serve food and drinks.
Just like other restaurants in the industry, staffing’s a challenge, which is why they brought Alfredo in.
Kendall at Lexington now only has 25 culinary employees – a huge setback from their previous 45.
Costing about $1,000 dollars a month, Kurtz says it equates to paying Alfredo $7 dollars an hour.
While he can’t replace any human staff, who make $15 an hour a piece, he can literally lighten the load.
“We don’t ever want to take away person-to-person contact. Everybody needs that social interaction. So he’s just an added plus if you will,” said Kurtz.
Residents like Dorothy Schoeneman love seeing him around at meal time.
“People were excited. And it was something both new and fun, but also it seemed immediately useful,” said Schoeneman.
They said Alfredo’s French accent is an added bonus.