TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Jalapeño Tree has a new employee, but it’s not a person. It’s a robot named Pepper.

Pepper was sought out by management to help when staffing is low. The Jalapeño Tree was able to test out her abilities for a month and have decided to keep her services.  

“Dealing with the short staff and it is kind of hard to get people nowadays after COVID. Pepper was an idea of trying to assist the host,” said Chris Borunda, General Manager of The Jalapeño Tree. 

The robot has a custom system that is programmed to know the restaurant’s layout and table numbers. After the table number is inserted, she takes the customer to the right table. She sings the Jalapeño Tree theme song on way there and instructs to take the menus and to be seated. 

Customers at first did not like the concept because it would take away jobs, but Borunda said that is not the case. Many customers grew to love Pepper and requested her assistance.  

“It was just like a waitress or waiter but it was just a robot, but it was a very nice experience,” said Kimberly Blair, a customer.