R2-D2, Johnny 5 and Rosie – robots serving people food has long been a science fiction theme. On Friday, GEN Korean BBQ House in Montclair made it happen.

A system of tracks running through the dining area allows wheeled robots to deliver food from the kitchen to the table. But it’s not all robots, according to David Ghim, senior corporate manager for the company. Waiters will still take orders and engage with customers.

“This is the first restaurant that we’re implementing this robotic system and we’re hoping, that it helps (our employees) in providing great customer service and that customers are enjoying it as well,” Ghim said Friday.

GEN Korean BBQ House opened its 12th location in Montclair at 5247 Arrow Highway, the 10,500-square-foot building that once housed Hometown Buffet.

Robots serve food at new Korean BBQ restaurant in Montclair
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The robots, with flashing blue and green LED lights, look less like they belong in “The Jetsons” and more like something out of the 2008 Pixar movie “Wall-e.”

CEO David Kim, who was previously the CEO of Baja Fresh, had the idea for robots.

“(David Kim) saw how he can help the servers,” Ricky Kim, marketing director for GEN Korean BBQ, said. “He’s always talking about doing something different. That’s his motto. Do it different.”

Doing it different is something GEN Korean BBQ hopes can continue at its other locations. The Montclair location is being used as a pilot program, according to Ghim, before they look at further expansion into future or existing locations. The company’s first southland location opened in 2014 in Cerritos

The restaurant has partnered with a robotics company to make the robot delivery system a reality, although Ricky Kim said they won’t disclose the name of the company because of a non-disclosure agreement.

“If this works, when you get better production out of anything, and if that helps out for service and for revenues, it’s a no-brainer to put it everywhere,” Ricky Kim said.

Each order is placed on a robot and sent to a table in less than a minute, according to Michael Yates, vice president of operations for GEN Korean BBQ House.

Freshly prepared meats, seafood, and vegetables and traditional Korean side-dishes are brought to the table by a little LED-lit bot.