Botbar Coffee, a robot-operated coffee shop, is set to open soon in Brooklyn with the tagline “Humans can be unpredictable; let the robot make your coffee.” The store, located on Manhattan Avenue, will be the first of its kind in the city. Botbar’s two-armed robotic barista is programmed with drink orders and can make up to 50 drinks an hour.
The coffee shop is a client of Richtech Robotics, which claims that its robots can make a variety of drinks, including cocktails and bubble tea. Customers will place their orders and pay using a touch screen. It is unclear if Botbar will also employ human baristas and servers, or how the owners plan to comply with the city’s cash acceptance requirement.
Automated cafes are becoming increasingly popular in response to labor shortages and employee retention issues in the restaurant industry. Critics argue that robots are being used to replace minimum-wage workers instead of paying fair wages. Richtech also sells robots that clean floors and deliver food, and markets “no breaks needed” and “never takes a sick day” as advantages for its robots.