What Is a Robot Coffee Shop?

Posted on Nov 13, 2020

Robot coffee shop

A robot coffee shop is a café except that the baristas in the café are coffee robots instead of human baristas. Typically, when we go into a coffee shop or a café, we expect to be greeted and served by a barista who wears an apron, receives our orders and makes us coffees.

About Robot Coffee Shops

In a robot coffee shop, these scenes shall nevertheless be seen. Rather, the coffee drinkers will be facing a coffee robot barista with buttons or a touch screen in the robot coffee shops. The customers will have to push the buttons on the robot barista following the instructions to get a cup of coffee.

As technology advances, brewing a cup of coffee with a conventional coffee machine which is operated by a human barista has gradually been replaced by the highly automated coffee robot baristas in some areas of the globe. Ever since the introduction of modern coffee machines to our daily life, a coffee baristas have been spending more and more time on pushing buttons and moving cups around.

One of the key advantages that the coffee machines have is that they help to save a great amount of time and effort making cups of coffee. With the increasing convenience it is to brew coffees with the coffee robot barista, human baristas gradually become less needed over time until one day the robot coffee shop comes to realization.

To date, there are some experimental robot coffee bars or robot coffee shops which feature the full-automated coffee services which no human barista is involved. These café are more like a coffee stand or coffee vender.

The customers go up to the counter and order their coffee on the touch screen, check their bill with credit card or mobile device, and wait for the robots to make the coffee for them. This very unconventional way of purchasing a coffee has started in some major cities in the States and is expected to expand to more parts of the world in the coming future.


Advantages of Robot Coffee Shop

Most advantages of a robot coffee shop come from the nature that no human staff is included. Typically, a waiter or waitress will accept the orders from the customers and deliver the orders to the coffee barista or coffee makers in the shop to brew the coffee. The process that order passes from the customer to the barista sometimes involves two or three people and when the coffee finally arrives, chances are the customers would get the wrong drink. Yet, such scenario is less likely to happen in a robot coffee shop unless the computer fails.

The other advantage is the hygiene of making the coffee. Without human waiters or coffee baristas, there is not any risk that the coffee products are contaminated by any human cause. Since buying a cup of coffee in a traditional coffee bar involves a deal of discourses and the products are made and delivered by hands, there is a chance that the coffee is contaminated by saliva or sweat. In a robot coffee shop, the coffee products come up directly from the coffee robots or the coffee machines which are regularly maintained and cleaned and the hygiene of it is assured.

In fact, at the time the COVID-19 outbursts, this feature is exceptionally valued by many customers. With the robot coffee shop, the coffee drinkers can still go grab a cup of coffee without worry about violating the social distancing policy. The customers go up to the robot barista, have the order, grab the coffee and go; they do not have to talk or have physical contact with a second party during the whole process which is rather beneficial for everyone.

Also, when the business goes busy in a traditional coffee shop, it is possible, sometimes quite frequent, that the orders are missed or forgotten and the customers have to wait for a long time until they realize the order has not yet been dealt with. In the robot coffee shop, everybody lines up to have their cup of coffee and there will not be such problem.

:: Read more: What is a Coffee Robot Barista? The Overview

The Downfalls of Robot Coffee Shop

Though there would be significantly less mistaking orders in a robot coffee shop, a café without human baristas also has its problem. First of all, there is no service since the robot coffee shop only serves the coffee for the customers. It is true that the flavor, sweetness, or the amount of milk can also be adjusted, but there is no one to answer questions, introduce specialty coffees, or offer more customized services. It is as simple as using the vending machines.

The other downfall is that, except for the periodical material supply and machine maintenance, there will not be anyone on site to fix the problems such as computer or machine failure, transaction failure or other technical problems. Minimizing man power is the key advantage of a robot coffee shop; however, it is also the lack of man power that brings about its downfall.

The other disadvantage may come from other customers. Since the customers all have to line up and wait for their turn to order the coffee, the time they spend in waiting may be longer when there are too many customers in the line. In addition, since a robot barista can only serve the next set of customers until the previous order is done, if a customer spends too much time on ordering the drinks, other people in the line will have to wait it is not less time-effective.

With the pros and cons a robot coffee shop has, there is still a distance to go and problems to solve to make the idea more compatible. The problems may be solved as the technology and smart system further advance and there may be more people willing to give it a shot once the service and business model of a robot coffee shop become mature.


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