Robotic bartenders a big hit in Las Vegas, take orders from kiosks
The robotic bartenders have been a big hit on the Las Vegas Strip. Photo courtesy of Robotic Innovations.
The Las Vegas bar scene is more fun than ever now that you can get served in a matter of seconds while watching a sleek robotic bartender mix and serve your drink. The robot's arms, shown on a display platform behind the bar, slices the lemons, shakes the drink and pours it for you, all in a matter of seconds.
|The Tipsy Robot bar features 28 order kiosks.|
Tipsy Robot, which opened in early July at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, is a bar that features a pair of robots that mimic dance moves as they serve up drinks. Patrons order their drinks on table-mounted touchscreen kiosks, then watch the robots shake, stir and pour their drinks.
Patrons can propose their own drink recipes or select from a menu and add or remove certain ingredients. The kiosk interacts with the robots via a Wi-Fi network.
A drink can take between 10 and 90 seconds from order to serve, depending on its complexity. Once the drink is ready, the customer receives a code that enables them to receive the drink through a conveyor system on the robotic bar.
"When you order your drink, it goes from the server to the robot that kicks the command into the production line to make the drink," Stephen Mornet, co-founder of Robotic Innovations, Tipsy Robot's parent company, told Kiosk Marketplace.
There are "galactic ambassadors" who assist customers with using the tablets. For those who prefer the human touch, there is also a traditional bar.
The 2,500-square-foot bar also features a light show and a live social media video wall to entertain patrons.
The establishment's owners claim it is the only land-based robotic bar in the world.
Customer response outstanding
"The customer response has just been amazing," said Mornet. "This is an attraction as well as a bar. It basically lets consumers interact with cutting edge robotic technology through the user interface of the tablet."
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology student came up with the idea for the robotic bartender in 2013, Mornet said. Makr Shakr, an Italy-based robotics technology company, first commercialized the robotic bar system in 2014 by introducing it to cruise ships.
The robots are made by Kuka, a Germany-based industrial robotics manufacturer.
Custom designed kiosks
Robotic Innovations selected a U.K.-based kiosk manufacturer, imageholders, to custom design the self-order kiosks. The kiosk encloses a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1, a contactless payment card reader and a LAVA Link USB hub. There is also a Magtek Dynamag card swipe reader secured to the kiosk with a side bracket.
"There was a lot of customization and integration to put this whole system together," said Mornet. "We have redundant internet providers here because we're so dependent on the internet for our system."
imageholders custom designed the kiosks, which enclose a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1.
The company will soon be introducing a mobile app to enable customers to order drinks without having to use the kiosks, Mornet said, but he expects most customers will place their orders at the kiosks.
"The kiosk is the primary point of sale," he said. "Having a card present system for point of sale is much more convenient for a customer than downloading an app and signing up for a payment system."
The 28 kiosks enable everyone to be served without waiting. On average, there are 70 people in the bar at one time.
"We have not had an issue thus far of long lines of people waiting to order drinks," Mornet said.
The owners were surprised to find that most of the patrons are in their 40s; they expected a more millennial age following.
Investment exceeds $1 million
The investment in the bar's technology surpassed $1 million, Mornet said, including equipment, software and development costs. He did not have any estimated return on investment time frame.
The robots and the kiosks were seen as an attraction to appeal to customers as opposed to a cost saving measure.
"From a labor perspective, it certainly wasn't a money saving consideration," Mornet said. "Based on the price of the robots, there was no labor savings here."
Mornet doesn't think the employee count – 15 – would be any less if the bar did not have kiosks or robots.
The company hopes to expand the concept to other major cities, domestically and internationally.
As robotic technology impacts the foodservice and retail industries, self-order kiosks are finding new applications.
Elliot Maras Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.