When my kids heard about a cafe staffed with robots, they wanted to see it for themselves. One Saturday afternoon, we made our way to the fifth floor of the Tokyu Shibuya Plaza for waffles at Pepper Parlor. Here are some things we learned:
There was only a small designated area in front of the payment and drinks counter where food will be delivered by a robot. Because that was what we really wanted to see, we gave up sitting in a cozy semi-circle booth outside of the robot delivery area and ended up with a table with no back rest (not as comfortable) but within the robot delivery area. On a less busy day, there are booths within the robot delivery area but these tables are, as you can imagine, the first to be taken up.
2. Order and payment
We thought that we might be able to order from a robot. Unfortunately, robots could only take orders paid with a credit card so make sure to have one ready if you would like to use this feature. For other modes of payment, you will have to interact with human staff.
3. English language robots
At the entrance and on the perimeter of Pepper Parlor are robots ready to pose for photos. These robots can interact in English and my kids had the most fun striking poses with them. Unfortunately, the robots stationed by the tables called 'Seat-Sharing Pepper,' which can play games, tell fortunes and converse can only do so in Japanese. We observed that these seem to be popular with young Japanese couples who might need extra help in connecting with their dates.
4. Inquire when the Nao robots will perform
We missed seeing the Nao robots dance which is a shame. Try to time your visit for when they do.
To be honest, I had low expectations of the food. Surely, the main attraction of the cafe are the robots and the food is only secondary. I was happy to be mistaken. The Italian inspired Milk Gelato and Strawberry Fondue half waffle that we ordered was surprisingly as delicious as it looks.