Tue, Dec 04, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Robotics revolutionizing the humble takeaway coffee
咖啡機器人 煮杯咖啡僅需三十秒

A robotic coffee-making assistant is pictured at a FamilyMart technology concept store in Taipei.
台北市全家科技概念店的咖啡助理機器手臂。

Photo: Yang Ya-min, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者楊雅民

As we approach an era of staff shortages and high staffing costs, unmanned coffee shops and restaurants are no longer the stuff of dreams. Whether in Taiwan, the US or China, the food and beverage industry is enthusiastically testing out self-service options using robots and robotic arms to serve coffee and dishes to customers.

Three years ago, a Chinese entrepreneur living in the US developed an unmanned coffee stall using robotic arms costing US$25,000 (approximately NT$770,000) each. Consumers placed orders and paid using an app on their smartphones. Soon after, they would receive a notification to collect their order and an order number. The robotic arm would make cups of coffee for customers, taking on average one minute to brew three cups.

In Taiwan, convenience store operator FamilyMart has set up a technology concept store in Taipei on the intersection of Chongqing South Road and Wuchang Street. It is the first convenience store in Taiwan to introduce a robotic arm-powered “coffee-making assistant.” In Taiwan, the market price of a robotic arm is NT$480,000 (not including the cost of the coffee machine).

Customers place an order and pay at the checkout counter and are then given a receipt with a QR code, which they place in front of the robotic coffee assistant to be scanned. Then robotic arm then starts to brew the coffee. If it runs out of coffee beans, milk or sugar, it emits an audio notification for staff to replenish the missing ingredients.

A convenience store coffee machine takes about 46 seconds to brew one medium sized cup of latte coffee, whereas a robotic arm takes only 30 seconds. During the entire process no assistance is required by store employees, which saves about one minute’s worth of service time for staff.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. no longer the stuff of dreams phr. 非夢事 (fei1 meng4 shi4)

2. robotic arm phr. 機器手臂 (ji1 qi4 shou3 bi4)

3. concept store phr. 概念店 (gai4 nian4 dian4)

4. checkout counter phr. 收銀台 (shou1 yin2 tai2)

5. rush hour; peak period phr. 尖峰時段 (jian1 feng1 shi2 duan4)

6. conveyer belt phr. 輸送帶 (shu1 song4 dai4)


FamilyMart says that the concept store’s robotic coffee assistant makes approximately 200 cups of coffee every day, the majority of which are made during morning and afternoon rush hour. According to FamilyMart, the robot’s greatest asset is its ability to reduce the length of customer lines during peak periods.

Meanwhile, the popular restaurant chain Hai Di Lao Hot Pot, which operates on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, last month opened its first “smart restaurant” in Beijing. After diners order at their table, an order number is created, and a robotic arm then springs into action behind the scenes and starts preparing ingredients. A conveyer belt sends the ingredients to a food delivery hatch at the customer’s table and, finally, another robot delivers the dish onto the table without the need of a human server. From start to finish, the whole process can take as little as two minutes.

(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)

缺工、高人力成本時代來臨,無人咖啡店、無人餐廳非夢事。不論台灣、美國或中國,餐飲業正積極測試無人化服務,以機器手臂、機器人為顧客煮咖啡、上菜。

在美國, 三年前便有華人以每支造價約二點五萬美元(約台幣77萬元)的機器手臂,開發出無人咖啡亭,消費者以手機APP下單付款,緊接著會收到取餐通知和序號,機器手臂會把一杯杯消費者點購的咖啡煮好,平均一分鐘可煮三杯。

在台灣,全家便利商店在台北市重慶南路和武昌街交叉口開設的「全家科技概念店」,也率先導入咖啡助理(機器手臂)為消費者煮咖啡,台灣一支機器手臂的市價約四十八萬元(不含咖啡機)。

顧客在收銀台點購咖啡並完成結帳,就可獲得一張 QR Code 小白單,將小白單拿到咖啡助理前,掃描QR Code後,機器手臂就會開始煮咖啡,牛奶、咖啡豆、糖沒了,會主動音通知店員補充。

以一杯中杯拿鐵來計算,咖啡機煮一杯的時間約為四十六秒,機器手臂煮一杯咖啡的時間約三十秒,過程中完全不需要店員的輔助,使用咖啡助理一杯可減少店員一分鐘以上的勞務。

全家表示,目前科技概念店每天由機器手臂製作的咖啡大約兩百杯,大多集中在早、午尖峰時段,分散人流的功能最大。

在兩岸人氣十足的海底撈火鍋,上個月也在北京開出第一家智慧餐廳,顧客在座位上點餐後,訊號連接到後台,機器手臂馬上會從菜庫中開始配菜,透過輸送帶把顧客點的菜送到取餐口,再由機器人送餐,而不是服務生,從點餐到拿到餐點最快只要兩分鐘。

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