The robot bartenders we’ve covered so far at The Spoon are either just autonomous, articulating arms (Glacierfire), or high-volume vending machines (Rotender). Cecilia.ai, the latest entrant in the autonomous cocktail-making space, went live today and “she” is serving drinks a twist.
In addition to automated drink-pouring, Cecilia.ai features chatbot functionality to have a “conversation” with a customer. Cecilia looks like something out of a Vegas. The machine sports a big screen with a CGI female bartender. Walk up to Cecilia and start talking to order your drink. The Cecilia.ai website provides a sample conversation that goes something like this:
CUSTOMER: Hi there.
CECILIA: Hello there, what can I get you to drink?
CUSTOMER: Any recommendations?
CECILIA: My favorite is the Rusty Ale, but it’s a bit strong.
CUSTOMER: Do you have something sweeter?
CECILIA: Sure! Try the Green n’ Tonic.
According to website, Cecilia can make 120 drinks per hour (with reduced chit-chat), offers conversational script customization to fit a location, hundreds of available mixes and hold 70 liters (it doesn’t specify booze or mixer ratios). Voice control means ordering is contactless, and the large screen can be used for advertising purposes.
We’ve reached out to the company to find out more details like pricing and availability, and will update this when we hear back.
There are actually a number of robot bartenders coming to market right now. In addition to the aforementioned Glacierfire bar and Rotender robot, MSC Cruises is installing a robot bartender on one on of its ships, Macco’s robot is serving beer in Spain, and Makr Shakr continues to sell its robot bartender solution.
One reason for all this automated mixology is probably, like so many other things, the pandemic. Having hundreds of strangers yell out their orders into the faces of human bartenders isn’t such a great idea any more, thanks to COVID. A robot bartender eliminates that vector of human-to-human transmission. But another reason is that robot bartenders are machines that can crank out drinks around the clock without taking a break, and they do so without spilling or overpouring (which may suck for customers but is good for a bar’s bottom line).
From what we can gather, Cecilia isn’t aimed at high-volume nightclubs and bars, but instead is more for hotels, airports, VIP lounges, etc. This makes sense since a crowded bar blasting music in the background would make it difficult for Cecilia to hear a patron order a Patron with only their voice.
The only question that remains is whether sage wisdom and funny anecdotes are programmed into her chatbot capabilities.