Robotic bartenders are becoming pervasive across the events and hospitality industry. Just launched on World Bartender Day 2021, Cecilia is a new robotic bartender created by Isarali tech company, Cecilia.AI. Able to mix and serve up to 120 cocktails per hour, Cecilia has already been successfully used at a number of Microsoft, Cisco, and KPMG corporate events. Purchasing a Cecilia will set you back $45,000, or you can hire one for $2,000 a month.
The tech features a large, tall screen which displays Cecilia as an animated barmaid. By employing artificial intelligence (AI), Ceclia can chat to customers — similar to how an Amazon Echo speaker works. The customer tells Cecilia which drink they want (or they can use the touch-screen) before making a payment with their credit card or smartphone. Cecilia then promptly mixes, prepares, and pours the drink into a glass that appears in the vending slot. In addition to serving as many as 120 cocktails per hour, each Cecilia unit can be filled with upto 70 liters of various types of spirits, according to Cecilia.AI. “Cecilia works on voice recognition and AI technology,” explains Elad Kobi, chief executive of Cecilia.AI. “She can chat to customers, and when they choose a specific cocktail, she can make it, live.”
A crowd-pleasing attraction
Kobi also says this technology can be used to impress customers and stand out from the competition, which in turn will also make it attractive to establishments typically resistant to change. “Companies realize they need to do different things than others to attract people there,” he says. “Technology and innovation can do that”. Kobi also hopes Cecilia will be used by cruise ships, hotels, airports, casinos, and stadiums. Robotic bartenders are even being increasingly used at weddings to wow guests. For example, by naming cocktail’s after guests or the special couple, a robot bartender can create a fun and personalized wedding experience.
Boosting efficiency and profits
“The main issue when you have a venue is constant problems with the workforce,” says Alan Adojaan, chief executive of Yanu, an Estonian manufacturer of robotic bartenders. “There’s always a shortage of workers. You have to train them, but then they leave. There’s a huge turnover of staff.” Robot bar staff can help business owners avoid this, as well as solve other problems like staff over-pouring or giving out free drinks. “For instance, if someone orders a gin and tonic on a Yanu, you [the bar owner] can specify that the robot pours four centimeters of gin, and the exact amount of tonic and lemon juice,” explains Adojaan. Costing $150,000, Yanu is also fast. “It can work as fast as three and a half bartenders and make 100 drinks an hour. It can hold up to 1,200 drinks.”
And, if you’re worried about job losses, there’s no need. “Robots will not replace traditional [human-staffed] bars,” says Jan Hiersemenzel, head of marketing at F&P Robotics, another robot bartender manufacturer. “Standalone robot bars are [instead] being set up at entertainment and hospitality venues, or at events where otherwise no traditional bar would have been set up.”