There are two opposing forces during our sheltering in place and social distancing. We are actively avoiding other people, especially those we don’t know, and also actively working to maintain small comforts where they can be found — like in your morning cup of coffee.
While at-home packaged coffee sales have surged during our isolation, sales at Starbucks have dropped precipitously. A massive part of this drop, obviously is that Starbucks had to shut down its walk-in options last month. But once we emerge from quarantine, will those in need of a latté still stand in crowded stores with other people and trust the human hands crafting their drinks?
Perhaps the coronavirus could spur greater interest in robot-powered coffee kiosks. With their lack of humans, consistent product and ability to work around the clock, robo-ristas could become the next hot thing in coffee. Which means that the Rozum Cafe appears to have launched at the right time.
Developed by Belarus-based Rozum Robotics and announced this past weekend, the Rozum Cafe is an enclosed kiosk with an articulating arm that serves up a variety of coffee drinks. According to its FAQ, the Rozum Cafe can serve 300 drinks “per shift,” though they don’t say specifically how long a shift is. It can also be customized to expand drink menus and even serve up pastries.
There’s no official pricing for the Rozum Cafe, with the web site only saying that anyone buying one should actually get three of them for “optimal results” with the ROI. New owners will also have to pay for shipping, installing and setup of the machines.
However, the world has changed drastically in just the past few months and the opportunity for automated coffee could wind up being bigger than ever. In a post-pandemic world where we may no longer shake hands, grabbing a cup of coffee is something we’ll still want to do, just perhaps in a more humanless way.