For the last few years, robots have been blamed for taking away jobs. It’s not really hard to understand why given the amount of efficiency they bring to the table, and one robot barista is threatening to do the same thing. The robot can serve up to 120 drinks in a single hour. A human barista can never even get close to half of that.
The application of robotics in the restaurant industry has been on the rise, and it’s a trend that has started to worry a lot of people. The new robot barista has been developed by Café X Technologies in partnership with trendy coffee roasters such as Ritual, Intelligentsia, and Equator. The robot costs $25,000 according to a report on CNBC.
The robot has been operating as a whole barista in a coffee shop in San Francisco. It has the ability to make any drink you would expect in a trendy coffee shop. Whether it’s an espresso, cortados, or flat whites, the robot will deliver it, and restaurant industry workers are now getting worried. The integration of robots in daily restaurant operations could put millions of jobs at risk. However, 24-year-old inventor of the barista robot Henry Hu sees it differently. Hu told CNBC that the robot shouldn’t be seen as a threat or as a potentially harmful invention to anyone. It’s simply a solution that gets your coffee as quickly as possible.
The integration of these robots is also cost-effective. The overall cost of coffee at Café X, for example, is roughly $3. All drinks available are at the same price point too. There’s no beverage there that goes above $4. This has largely been attributed to the integration of robots into service. To put it simply, there are no workers to pay and the overhead costs are relatively low compared to a normal coffee shop with human workers.
Café X has already received $7 million in funding to expand its operations. Renowned Silicon Valley angel investor Jason Calacanis is one of the investors. Calacanis told CNBC that there’s a real need for this robotic technology in the coffee industry. He argues that the idea of having to wait for a cup of coffee is crazy, and that the fact that there are people today spending 10 hours a day making coffee is simply not acceptable. Bringing in robots will solve this. Besides, a robot will never get your order wrong.
It’s not just the restaurant industry that’s starting to embrace the use of robots. A report by Cornerstone Capital Group, a leading investment advisory firm, noted that the retail industry could lose up to 7.5 million jobs to technology over the next few years. In addition to this, large restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Panera are investing heavily in automated mobile kiosks. Restaurant executives think that with the rising labor cost, it makes sense to use robotic technology to serve customers. The new barista robot is the perfect example of how efficient this technology can be.