Automation is a topic that is affecting all industries to some degree, viewed by some as an exciting and revolutionary way to maximise profits, and by others as a major risk to the human work force. The coffee industry is of course no exception to this, and automation could impact the way coffee is farmed, processed and transported, as well as how the drinks are actually made at the coffee shops. One of the businesses very much ahead of the curve is Cafe X, who have developed a robot barista that operates completely unsupervised to produce and sell drinks to customers automatically.
Cafe X robot barista
The Cafe X barista is contained within a booth where customers can order and pay using touch screen tablets, with a robot arm then making the coffee for you and placing it in a compartment for you to collect. It essentially works like an incredibly sophisticated vending machine for coffee!
The machine works by using the WMF 1500 S bean-to-cup machine to make the coffees, with several machines inside the booth offering a range of different coffee beans, milks and syrups, with the robot arm loading and unloading the cups and making sure the correct drinks are being given to the correct customers. The arm can therefore manage several customers at the same time, making it much quicker and more efficient than a traditional coffee shop set up. What is lost with the lack warmth from dealing with a robot instead of a person is made up for with the speed and reliability, making the Cafe X machines perfect for people looking for a quick coffee to go rather than a full coffee shop experience.
With three locations around San Francisco in California, Cafe X are starting in one of the biggest technology hotbeds in the world, but it could well be something that we start seeing around the world in the coming years.
How to automate without robots
Of course, automation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have your coffee made by robots. There is a more accessible middle ground that we can start to implement immediately, without completely getting rid of any human interaction. In fact, the combination of human customer service and attention to detail alongside the efficiency and cost saving benefits of machine automation may well be the best of both worlds.
The updated WMF 1500 S+ coffee machine is perfect for medium sized coffee businesses due to both its versatility and ease of use. New technologies have been developed to help keep staff focussed being attentive and engaging with customers, such as Dynamic Coffee Assist which monitors and automatically adjusts the settings to maintain the best beverage quality possible. WMF CoffeeConnect also comes as standard, allowing you to monitor your machines from anywhere in the world so you know exactly when they need maintenance or refilling.
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