Press Releases

Jan 25, 2017

Pepper the Robot Lands Pilot Program with HMSHost at Oakland International Airport

Pepper joins the team at Pyramid Ale Taproom to assist, inform and entertain travelers

OAKLAND, CA — Global restaurateur HMSHost has joined forces with SoftBank Robotics America (SBRA), the North American arm of SoftBank Robotics Holdings, to launch a new pilot program with Pepper the humanoid robot at the Oakland International Airport. Beginning this week, Pepper will greet and engage with guests at HMSHost’s Pyramid Ale Taproom in Terminal 2, offering assistance, menu recommendations and directions to travelers, beginning their journeys with a memorable encounter.

Utilizing dedicated applications built specifically for HMSHost, Pepper will invite airport passengers to visit Pyramid Ale Taproom, offering them guidance on food and drink selections based on their personal taste preferences, while detailing Pyramid’s award-winning craft beers. Through an interactive map displayed on Pepper’s screen, the robot can also help travelers find their gate, restrooms, exits and more. Pepper will proactively field these questions from airport visitors, enabling wait staff to focus on their customers.

“At HMSHost, we are always working to identify the next opportunity to elevate the guest experience at airports,” said HMSHost Vice President of Innovation Jim Schmitz. “Through constant innovation, we aim to engage with travelers and assist them on their journey. We are very excited to introduce them to Pepper as part of these efforts.”

With large expressive eyes and lifelike movements and gestures, the 4-foot-tall humanoid robot was designed to interact and communicate with guests. Pepper’s pilot with HMSHost continues the robot’s deployment with national and independent retailers and restaurants throughout North America. Utilized for brand and customer engagement roles, Pepper has brought value to its partners, generating increased foot traffic and reinventing the customer experience.

“HMSHost is leading the charge to innovate the airport experience,” said Steve Carlin, Vice President and General Manager of SoftBank Robotics America. “With this program, travelers from all over the world will have the opportunity to meet and interact with Pepper, getting a taste of the future of hospitality and travel.”

Pepper will be assisting and engaging with guests at HMSHost’s Pyramid Ale Taproom venue at Oakland International Airport beginning January 23rd, 2017. To learn more about SoftBank Robotics America visit or follow @SBRAmerica on Twitter to receive the latest updates and news.

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates locations all over North America, and is part of Autogrill Group, the world's leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. Visit for more information.