Chinese café chain features robotic arms instead of baristas

With coffee one of the world’s most popular hot beverages, it is unsurprising that we have seen a growing trend in innovations related to the drink. We have seen social innovations such as Chicago’s coffee shop Sip of Hope. This café is unique in its work to prevent suicide by promoting positive mental health. The coffee supplier and charity partners work together to create a safe space for those struggling with mental health issues. We have also seen numerous coffee providers taking part in innovative environmental initiatives. An example of this is the TrioCup. This coffee cup is specially designed to form a one-piece, fully compostable drinks cup. With the design inspired by origami, this coffee cup eliminates the need for plastic lids. Now we have seen the creation of a slicker, more efficient, consumer-friendly method of serving coffee. Ratio uses a robotic arm to make customers’ drinks.

The robot arm aims to provide a smoother customer service experience, allowing clients to personalize their drinks (currently coffees and cocktails) with ease. Customers can choose and customize their drink via social networking app Wechat. The robot arm will then make the drink following the consumer’s exact instructions. This collaborative robot is faster than a human barista, making a latte in under one minute. The technology also uses artificial intelligence to create recommendations for customers based on their previous orders. In spite of all this, Ratio’s founder Gavin Pathross is adamant that humans will not be replaced. “Cobots are just better than humans in performing repetitive work. They’re great at executing orders, freeing up our team of RATIOlogists, assembled from Asia’s best baristas and mixologists, so that they can do what they do best – provide personalized service and have great conversation with our guests.”

Credit: Tony Hunter, Futurist for Food on 31.07.18
Robot Baristas are China’s Latest Trend