Robot Bartenders

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QUESTION From: Brittany in OC

“Just saw these new automatic robot drink makers at a food show in New York and wonder what you think of them. Gimmick or great way to control costs while providing an entertaining experience for customers?”

HH ANSWER:

I’m not saying there isn’t a market for machines like this (I can imagine one in an office, fraternity house or some twenty-somethings’ apartment quite easily) but I worry about people making the leap from seeing something as “better” simply because it’s more efficient...especially in this age of kiosks replacing cashiers.

I’m just not a fan of superfluous automation...especially in the restaurant industry and I don’t want a “perfectly” made drink...ever.

I like the fact that a bartender can get to know their guests and personalize a drink on the fly by adding an extra squeeze of lime for Dave or by going a little light on the vodka for Robin... Imperfections, variations and customizations are where the character and beauty lies.

One bartender’s pour vs. another’s is not necessarily what makes one good and one bad; but that slight differentiation - so slight that we sometimes can’t quite put our finger on it - is what gives any drink (or food item) personality.

An authentic, genuine, less-measured, and less-calculated presentation paired with a human touch is what makes the experience more comforting for any guest...and the reason why frozen pancakes that look “perfect” will never have the same appeal as one with slightly burned edges just lifted out of a pan.

So…I guess I don’t like them. At all.

Josh Sapienza