Can baristas keep up with their robotic challengers?
Robots that can prepare food have become a perennial part of the discussion of the future of the quick service customer experience — and the employment landscape, as well. Now a gourmet coffee robot has arrived that could shake up the barista business.
The robot is called a “coffee haus” and was created by tech startup Briggo, The Washington Post reports. Customers can use an app to not only place their orders with the robot, choosing aspects of their order such as ingredients, espresso shots, flavorings and temperature. The machine can produce 100 cups of “specialty” coffee in a single hour, three to four times faster than a human barista.
Briggo currently owns eight 10-foot by four-foot machines and is beginning to develop a licensing agreement for interested store operators. Briggo was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company in 2018.
Besides Briggo, there are at least a half dozen prominent startups experimenting in the space, as detailed in a list on tech blog Nanalyze. Robotics companies in San Francisco, Australia, Russia and Japan have all been pursuing their own distinct take on the robotic barista.
Robots have already begun to pop up in other foodservice verticals. In 2016, a startup called Miso Robotics rolled out a burger-cooking robot called Flippy. Regional burger chain Caliburger announced plans to implement Flippy in 10 of its 50 locations by the end of 2018. Another Bay Area startup called Creator launched a conveyor belt-driven burger robot capable of quickly turning out a gourmet burger to order with a $6 price tag.
As with the potential full automation of burger joints, the creation of a totally automated coffee maker could drastically reduce or eliminate staff required in a shop.
And coffee aficionados have already demonstrated that they’re comfortable ordering by app. Last year the Starbucks app topped the list of most used mobile apps, Geekwire reported. The data, collected by eMarketer, indicated that the Starbucks app has even more active users than Apple Pay.
- Baristas beware: A robot that makes gourmet cups of coffee has arrived. – The Washington Post
- 7 Robot Baristas That Will Make You Coffee – Nanalyze
- Is making burgers now a job for robots? – RetailWire
- New data: The most-used mobile payments app might surprise you – Geekwire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are baristas’ jobs on the line with the advent of gourmet coffee robots? Should coffee shops begin to move toward robotic tech or compete against the robotic coffee experience with human baristas?