How robotics can help revive the post-pandemic cocktail bar

Guido is an autonomous robotic bar, summoned through an app to any location whereby it can mix up your required cocktail. The work of the leading maker in robotic bartending systems Makr Shakr and the Italian creative studio Carlo Ratti, the concept is imagined for suburban areas cut-off from the social hub of the city. Guido is a vehicle for creating shared dynamics and for community building.

We wrote about Guido a year ago, back in the pre-coronavirus days when entertainment was considered largely a social occasion. The current global health crisis has, however, put a spotlight on certain areas of life – namely hospitality and travel. And while post-pandemic life may not be as dramatically altered as some fear, it highlights the possibilities for progressive technologies to be further integrated into the new normal.

Makr Shakr certainly thinks so. This time the robotic bartender has teamed up with Nordic drinks brand GlacierFire to test the world’s first automated cocktail bar in Iceland’s Reykjavik. While Guido is imagined as an Uber-style robotic mixologist-on-demand, Ice+Fries is more of a static concept.

At its heart is Makr Shakr’s Toni. The advanced robot’s arms can measure alcohol, collect ice, cut lemons and limes, shake a Cosmopolitan and stir up a classic Negroni, for up to 150 cocktails an hour. In much the same way as Guido, customers make their orders via a tablet, receiving an SMS for collection with the drinks served in disposable cups and placed on the counter to comply with social distancing rules. Ice+Fries is equipped with 3D printers for the food and drinks, there are interactive seating areas for immersive sound experiences, and the bar comes replete with its own bionic AI-powered dog.

‘As safety becomes a non-negotiable top priority for all of us, robotic bartenders can play a substantial role in helping the food and beverage industry get back on their feet as soon as possible,’ says Makr Shakr’s chief executive Emanuele Rossetti. ‘A robot like Toni offers a win-win solution for businesses, as it entertains as well as services patrons within health and safety standards.’

Limited in our movement and travel for the foreseeable future, Guido’s autonomous drive and flexible nature certainly make it a compelling case, as does Ice+Fries promise of a safe and socially-appropriate cocktail hour. Ultimately though, Makr Shakr’s work shows how advanced technology can be put to good use as brands navigate social life in and after isolation. While a robot mixologist may not provide all our social needs, even with an AI tail-wagging dog, these projects offer a positive note for the future of the hospitality industry post-pandemic.

Images from top: © Makr Shakr; Guido © Carlo Ratti and Makr Shakr; Ice+Fries © GlacierFire

Read more about the positive force of technology in the time of the coronavirus; see Spinach Branding’s work in the hospitality and food and drinks industries and with technology brands.

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

ICE+FRIES by Makr Shakr and GlacierFire
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