Bear Robotics raises $81M for front-of-house robots

The company said it would use the funding to bring more automation to the restaurant industry.
Bear's Servi robot can run food and bus tables. / Photograph courtesy of Bear Robotics

Bear Robotics, a company that makes robot servers, has raised $81 million to bring more automation to the restaurant industry, it announced Monday.

Bear’s flagship product is Servi, a fully autonomous tray on wheels that can help run food and bus tables. The company said the bot helps improve customers’ experience and makes workers’ lives easier by shouldering some of the grunt work in the dining room. 

More restaurants have started using robots like Servi as they deal with smaller staffs and increased demand from customers as pandemic restrictions ease.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Bear said it would use the funding to develop more products to help automate hospitality. It also wants to expand to more markets and add staff.

The company works with restaurants of all sizes as well as senior living centers, hotels, stadiums and casinos. 

Chili’s Grill & Bar is one of the larger brands testing the Servi bot, which it named Rita.

“Rita is just one way—and proof—that we’re innovating in the name of fun and efficiency,” said Wade Allen, SVP of innovation for Chili’s parent Brinker International, in an email last month. “Her skills free up our team members to focus more on our guests and make them feel special.”

Other restaurants using similar technology have said the bots allow servers to spend more time interacting with customers rather than running back and forth to the kitchen.

Servi reportedly costs about $1,000 a month.

The Series B round was led by IMM Investment Corp., a large Korean investment firm. It included contributions from existing investors including Cleveland Avenue, the venture capital firm founded by former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson.

It brings Bear’s total funding to $117 million. The company raised $32 million in January 2020 in a round led by SoftBank.

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