Singaporean cafe Crown Coffee has unveiled the country’s first-ever robotic barista named Ella, which is supposedly four times more efficient than a human barista.
The first prototype of Ella was first built in 2017, and continued development from Crown Digital, the coffee shop’s smart solutions provider, resulted in its official launch last month.
Locals were invited from September 15 to experience what the cafe is calling ‘a brand-new contactless coffee experience’.
Orders start at $4 (£3) and are made using the cafe’s app and then displayed onto a digital screen while the customer waits. But they won’t be waiting for long, as Ella is touted as a much faster alternative to human baristas, capable of producing 200 cups an hour, VICE reports.
The benefits aren’t just economical either; Ella is a robot, which means it can prepare drinks with fewer worries about transmitting COVID-19.
What’s more, Ella can also provide a personal service by transforming into a photo booth, and even play interactive, simple games with customers while they wait for their order.
Ella can also be used throughout the day and well into the night, as it’s capable of being programmed to serve cocktails too.
A Crown Coffee spokesperson told VICE:
She, in a way, is like a blank slate. We can program hundreds of drinks for her.
The launch event saw Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling in attendance, who later spoke of the importance of digitisation in the hospitality sector.
While Covid-19 has severely impacted our businesses and economy, it has also created the impetus for us to build stronger business capabilities and seek out new growth opportunities.
Ella might be the first robotic barista, mixologist and superstar entertainer, but the concept of robots in the hospitality industry is nothing new.
Take a trip to Las Vegas and it doesn’t take long to spot an eye-searing, LED-laden billboard for the strip’s top cocktails at the Tipsy Robot robotic bar.
Other robotics firms are also vying for the custom of the world’s most tech-savvy hospitality businesses. Miso Robotics announced today that its kitchen robot, the Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), will go on sale for $30,000 (£23,156).
The Flippy ROAR is mounted on a recessed overhead rail to keep out of the way of human kitchen colleagues and can cook up to 19 food items.
The price may seem steep now, but Miso Robotics said it’s planning to reduce the cost to around $20,000 (£15,480) or a simple robot-as-a-service kind of deal for $1,000 (£771) a month, which would include maintenance and updates.
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