Robotic Busser Enhances the Lounge Experience

Published on : 1/25/23
  • The introduction of LUFTH-I, a robotic busser in the Lufthansa Business Lounge at Dulles International Airport in Washington, has resulted in reduced labor costs, improved employee safety, and an enhanced guest experience. In its first four months of service, LUFTH-I made over 9,500 successful deliveries and traveled close to 400 miles. By handling back-and-forth bussing and allowing servers to focus their effort where it matters most, this innovative solution has helped the lounge team get more direct contact with guests to ensure they are having the best experience possible.

    The Lufthansa Business Lounge at Dulles International Airport in Washington offers travelers an escape with exclusive pre-flight amenities and a first-class food and drink menu. With 6,700 square feet of space, providing outstanding on-the-ground service means lounge attendants cover several miles on foot every shift. Sodexo Live! welcomed a new high-tech team member to ease this burden and empower staff to focus on providing high-touch guest experiences.

    Meet LUFTH-I

    Servi, nicknamed “LUFTH-I” by the Lufthansa lounge crew, is a state-of-the-art service robot from Bear Robotics designed to increase productivity, improve safety and sanitation, and enhance customer service. Equipped with 3D scanning sensors that map and navigate the lounge space, LUFTH-I handles back-and-forth bussing and allows servers to focus their effort where it's needed most. LUFTH-I can easily navigate crowds and avoid obstacles, dropping off dishes and glassware before heading back to the lounge for another round of cleaning. 

    A four-hour charge can provide up to twelve hours of service. In its first four months of service, LUFTH-I made over 9,500 successful deliveries and traveled close to 400 miles—saving hours of labor costs and boosting staff efficiency. 

    A Team Effort

    Automating everyday tasks eliminates the stress associated with the service industry and allows servers to focus on creating excellent experiences. "Now that they don't have to go back and forth from point A to point B during their shift, servers can spend more time tableside," said Joseph Hornbeck, Sodexo Live! General Manager of the Lufthansa lounge. "We're committed to providing a superior guest experience for travelers. Technology like LUFTH-I helps make that possible." 

    With the support of LUFTH-I, servers can reallocate their time. From welcoming guests and guiding travelers through the buffet to cleaning and enhancing the overall aesthetic of the lounge, lounge attendants can accomplish more without having to bring on more staff.  

    Employee Safety

    "LUFTH-I helps lounge attendants with dishes to save time but has also significantly improved employee safety," explains Hornbeck. "Back, neck, and shoulder pain and injury are common when you're on your feet all day, constantly lifting heavy trays and tubs. This technology supports our staff and eliminates some of the risks." In a recent lounge employee survey, 100% of respondents gave LUFTH-I high marks for providing "increased convenience and efficiency." 

    "It's been so helpful to have LUFTH-I in the lounge," attendant Claudio Arauz said. "We can do more rewarding work with less strain. The entire team considers LUFTH-I one of the crew members. Passengers are amazed by the robot too!"

    "Sodexo Live! has over two decades of experience bringing forward-thinking solutions to lounges," said William Chesternut, Senior Manager, Facilities Management Services and Robotic Deployment team lead. "Our clients are always looking for new ways to do things. As travel rebounds and airports are busier than ever, this innovative solution provides a much-needed extra hand for employees and an exceptional hospitality experience for travelers on their way to their final destination." 

    After successfully onboarding LUFTH-I in Dulles, Bear Robotics and Sodexo Live! showcased the technology at CES 2023 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. “As hospitality and service continue to evolve, we see Servi playing an integral role in shaping the future of these industries,” explained Juan Higueros, co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at Bear Robotics. “Sodexo Live! has been an excellent partner as we continue to scale and grow.”

    Server loading robot busser