YORK is about to get a taste of the future as a new restaurant run by robots has opened in the city centre.

The team at Hai Zhong Lao Hot Pot and BBQ Restaurant at 10-12 George Hudson Street includes two four foot tall smart robots which were both fully operational and deployed serving the customers on opening day today (June 9).

Owner, Kevin Leung, said: “It’s taken us a year to get to this point and I’m so glad we can finally welcome customers in to see what we have been working on for so long.

“It’s great to be the first to bring this kind of technology to York and I’d like to focus on that in the long term too.

“The idea of a contactless restaurant that helps to reduce human-to-human contact has become more important because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s wonderful to be able to bring one of the country’s first automated restaurants to York. We have found that customers love the robots, especially children.”

Ordinarily front of house at the restaurant will be run by two staff as well as the robot waiters who will bring the food to tables ready to cook on barbecue grills, skewers and in hotpots which customers operate using table top control panels.

The restaurant's name means 'with the sea' and refers to diners being able to dive down to the bottom of their hotpots for tasty morsels added from food brought to them by the robot servers or from the rotating conveyor belt.

Another high tech touch is the constantly changing wall art which is all controlled from 5D projectors mounted on the ceiling.

Mr Leung said ordinarily the restaurant can cater for 60 covers, but that number is currently limited to between 40 and 50 due to Covid restrictions.

The flat rate for dining is £25.99 for adults and includes soft drinks - the restaurant's alcohol licence is still pending - and customers can use QR codes on their phone to order and pay for their meals.