An automated barista Rozum Café by Rozum Robotics now brews coffee at King Abdullah Center for Oncology and Liver Disease in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
It is the third coffee machine robot in a Saudi medical facility. Two others are located nearby, in different sections of the King Faisal Hospital & Research Center — the same health care institution King Abdullah Center for Oncology and Liver Disease belongs to.
“We used to target high-traffic locations for our robotic barista”, says Darya Hancharyk, Head of Marketing for Rozum Robotics. “Airports, movie theaters, shopping malls. Other coffee points in Saudi Arabia stand in such places as Al-Nakheel Mall. But after some brainstorming with the client and franchise owner, we decided to put robots into hospitals. The idea turned out to be successful. The demand for coffee is going strong. But the most important thing is safety. So there is a great humanity aspect in this automation: more robots, fewer chances of catching a disease”.
The robotics cafe has no human staff involved. The automated barista does everything by itself: brewing, serving, and entertaining clients with a dance. The number of cups made per day can be up to 400. There are both traditional coffee options on the menu and iced beverages. For coffee making, only specialty blends are used. The ordering process is contactless: the system accepts only card and phone payments.
“All you have to do is to choose your drink on the POS system, add syrup (if you want one), and then proceed with payment. The robot will deliver your drink in a minute or so, depending on the beverage complexity”, adds Darya. “Since there are no human employees and cash payments, there are no infection risks. This factor is crucial for hospitals, especially in the COVID-19 era, and even more so for the facilities like King Abdullah Center. The patients undergoing chemo are particularly vulnerable, and with Cubo now being placed in this center, they can safely order a coffee”.
This network of robotic baristas is a part of Cubo Coffee House by EMC. The franchise took off in 2021, and both Rozum Robotics and EMC have plans for expanding it. For the moment, there are six automated baristas in Riyadh. Three of them (including the newest one in King Abdullah Center) reside at King Faisal Hospital & Research Center. Other locations include Al-Nakheel Mall, Al-Rajhi Bank Headquarters, and Riyadh Digital City.
Meanwhile, Rozum Robotics’ aspirations go beyond Riyadh. The company plans to open a new robotic coffee point in Dubai. The opening is to be announced shortly.
There are also big plans for European countries. Rozum Robotics is in the process of setting up coffee hubs in Ukraine and Cyprus and is in talks to create robotic coffee spaces in Poland and Germany under other franchise brands. Rozum also hopes to deliver the automated barista to the US market this year. All that it takes is to finalize patent issues.
“The robotic barista is a customizable project. We can brand it following your wishes. It’s a good franchise opportunity. You got a ready-for-use solution that we can tailor with a specific logo, panels color, and even tech features. In the case of EMC and Saudi Arabia, we developed the feature with cold drinks. The original menu had only six classic coffee beverages, and the client wanted something refreshing. So we added an icemaker to the solution. Then software engineers taught the robot how to make iced americano, latte, and cappuccino”.
The cold drinks menu for Saudi Arabia isn’t the last feature Rozum is going to introduce. To provide other tech advancements, the company has entered another investment round. More information about the upcoming changes will be released soon.
*Rozum Robotics is a hardware company with offices in the USA, Russia, and Belarus. The in-house production builds collaborative robots, frameless engines, servos. Their Rozum Café is based on the cobot PULSE and was first introduced in 2018. The first robotic barista still serves coffee at Minsk National Airport.
*EMC is a Saudi Arabia company based in Riyadh. Its main goal is to provide local and international clients with services in sports marketing consultancy, technical planning advisory, coach education, and more. EMC has been around since 2011. It was founded by Fahad Al Ruwaitea and Ahmed Al Breki, who have extensive backgrounds in operations and management.