Author’s announcement: Going to the bar for me generally involves having at least one cocktail to drink while chatting with whoever I am accompanying that night. Although I always intend to try something new, it usually hits me with the paralysis of choice and I end up settling for something familiar, like Long Island or Piña Colada.
WASHED, a resto-lounge at Persiaran Tropicana, has installed an automatic bartender to prepare cocktails according to the bar’s drink menu with precision at all times.
Called MixoBot, it is capable of preparing drinks in 3 minutes with the precise measures of liquor for each drink. This means that every drink that comes out of the bar has a consistent flavor, which reduces the chances of a customer returning a drink, as it tends to be an additional cost that companies must bear.
Imitating human mixologists
MixoBot essentially works by having customers order their cocktails from the bar menu on an iPad. The bartenders then press a single button that tells the MixoBot which drink to make.
Bottles of liquor such as vodka, gin, whiskey, etc. they are hung upside down and mounted on the bar shelf. Through an optical alcohol measure dispenser, the robot can pour a precise amount of liquor to prepare cocktails with the correct amount of ingredients at all times.
At the same time, it offers a show with a style very similar to that of a bartender, since it has been programmed to imitate human-like movements while shaking and mixing drinks. Once the drink is mixed, the waiters put the finishing touch on the garnishes before serving it to customers.
Spilling drinks was part of the process
MixoBot was developed by the F&B and entertainment group, Focus dynamics, which owns the LAVO brand along with others. CEO Benson Tay told the Vulcan Post that it took the team 9 months and at least RM500K to develop the robo-bartender.
At the development stage, Benson explained that the biggest challenge he faced was adjusting the MixoBot’s accuracy when pouring drinks into a glass. This was where spills and broken glass became part of the team’s day-to-day life.
Once it was ready for installation at LAVO, crews would check in after hours between 12 a.m. M. And 4 a. M. To install MixoBot in the restaurant bar.
During the day when customers visited and dined, the machine had to be covered with a large cloth before it was ready for its reveal in April 2021. Unfortunately, MCO re-imposed itself shortly after, leaving MixoBot idle for the time being. .
However, the restaurant’s bottled food and drinks are still being sold via takeout and delivery, while dinners are on hold.
Robots are not taking over … completely
While MixoBot is likely to attract customers, as it is an intriguing experience to see your drinks being prepared autonomously, it is also intended to be a cost-saving asset for the bar.
This was because human bartenders can sometimes make mistakes when mixing a drink, causing customers to return them to the bar as the cocktails may not be suitable for their taste.
“Returned drinks cost the bar money and we hope MixoBot can help eliminate this problem; not just for us, but also for the restaurants that MixoBot serves, ”said Benson.
Part of the bar-hopping experience also involves sitting by the counter to chat with your mixologists, who can select a custom drink for you. Benson shared that MixoBot can be programmed by professional mixologists to offer new cocktails from time to time in addition to their regular offerings.
So it appears that the robot can do everything a human mixologist can do, with even more efficiency and precision. But the only thing missing is the human touch, which also contributes to the bar experience. Therefore, some bars may still choose to hire human bartenders for that reason.
Focus Dynamics has also stated that MixoBot’s technology will serve as an additional source of income for the group. They will lease their robot bartender to interested locations that also want to provide such services.
Benson declined to share the cost of installing and maintaining MixoBot, but stated: “[The] adoption of MixoBot could greatly increase a location’s beverage revenue by 50%. ”This was in reference to the decrease in returned beverages from customers using MixoBot.
In the near future, Benson aims to have MixoBot as an attraction in hotels, bars, events and cruises. The CEO is also confident that venues using a centerpiece like MixoBot will be able to generate returns within 12 months of installation.
Bottom line: It may take a while before MixoBot adoption rates are significant, especially when the country’s recovery from the pandemic seems to have no end in sight. Nonetheless, it would be a good night to watch a robot mix my cocktails right before my eyes at the bar.
- You can get more information about LAVO hereand focus dynamics here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups that we have covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Benson Tay, CEO, Focus Dynamics