The Broobee robot barista and UNIC´s espresso machine in actionDecember 6, 2021 - Innovation
Customers at the newly opened Broobee café in Portland, North America, receives an extra special delivery when ordering their morning brew. Electrolux Professional’s UNIC “Stella di Caffè” espresso machine is working hand in hand with Broobee’s robot barista.
Robot baristas are on the rise, and Electrolux Professional is keeping pace with automation in the Food and Beverage industry. The owner of the Broobee café, Gagan Singh, wanted to wow customers when he was looking for the perfect fit for his new coffee shop experience. That’s why he went for a traditional espresso machine to work alongside his special developed robotic arm, designed and produced independently.
“Our robot barista loves working with your Stella di Caffè machine, brewing a perfect cup of coffee every time and customers are loving the unique experience,” owner of the Broobee café, Gagan Singh says. “The future for Broobee is to expand further café settings also in other segments such as airports and malls. Stella di Caffè from UNIC will play a big part in our expansion.”
Broobee´s conversations with Electrolux Professional and UNIC started in late 2019 and – after the hiatus of the pandemic – this café recently opened. It’s a pleasing reminder that business is resuming in the ‘post’-Covid era.
“We are increasingly seeing robotics in the food service arena – think flipping burgers and dropping fries,” says Mark Parrott, National Sales Manager in Electrolux Professional.
Consistency is key when it comes to what customers really want from their go-to coffee shop. The ability to meet that need is one of the reasons why our UNIC machine had a competitive edge when it came to serving espressos and americanos.
Thanks to the unique, patented DOSAMAT technology in the range of traditional machines, the size of the portafilter inserted is automatically recognized. This allows the espresso machine to dose the corresponding volume of coffee, leaving the robot barista with less thinking to do.
“When the portafilter is inserted and turned, it lines up with two magnets and starts pouring the coffee straight away,” Mark Parrott explains. “Since the robotic arm doesn’t have a finger to push a button, that’s why the DOSAMAT works so well. It’s simple technology but essentially that’s why the owner of Broobee café chose our machine.”
Staff shortages post pandemic
In addition, labor is becoming a big issue – especially in North America – where it’s increasingly difficult to staff a store with minimum-wage personnel. “So, the likes of the robot barista can smooth out operations where 2-3 staff would normally be needed,” Mark Parrott adds. “It’s a growing trend and we want to explore and tap into its potential.”
Essentially, it’s a self-service kiosk that allows customers to place their orders via a touchscreen and pay by credit card. A big screen then informs them when the order pick-up box is ready, which is beneficial in terms of grouping orders and minimizing queues. Broobee is also working on an app to make the ordering and payment process even smoother.
“For sure, it may not replace the human barista completely, but we can see that the pandemic has created a huge separation between consumer and server – we are using our phones more – which also increases order accuracy as there’s less room for human error,” Mark Parrott adds.
Ascertain that the human interface will live on, there are situations where the robot barista can thrive. In airports or college campuses for example. Although Covid put a temporary damper on those ideas, these are segments where the robot barista can play and really take off, with consistency, speed and ease of service.