| South Korea

South Korea’s SK Telecom launches new ‘AI Barista Robot’ concept

The Seoul-based telecoms company says its compact robot barista can boost operational efficiency in cafés by reducing staff costs and enabling data capture

SK Telecom is planning a franchise-type robot product in collaboration with one of South Korea's major café operators | Photo credit: SK Telecom


SK Telecom and Doosan Robotics have launched ‘AI Barista Robot,’ a compact coffee-making robot designed to maximise operational efficiency in existing coffee shops. 

In a press release, South Korean telecoms company SK Telecom said AI Barista Robot can prepare a range of 20 customisable beverages. The machine also has the capability to close cup lids, a function SK Telecom says is an industry first.

Powered by Seongnam-based Doosan Robotics, the robot feeds back performance data via SK Telecom’s data analysis platform, including sales figures, raw material consumption and equipment status. 

The two companies also said the robots can be installed with surveillance cameras to offer a high level of security for unmanned stores. 

SK Telecom is planning a franchise-type robot product in collaboration with one of South Korea's major café operators to expand the unmanned coffee robot business.

The company said the increasing popularity of robotic barista concepts and their ‘competitive pricing’ could make the company the market leader for coffee robots within the next five years. 

“In an era where robots are becoming ever-present in our daily lives, we will focus on providing diverse robot services that can enhance the convenience and productivity of both individual and corporate customers, and provide them with a greater experience,” said Choi Nag-hun, Vice President and Head of Industrial. 

Several companies are currently scaling their robotic barista concepts and promoting the benefits of automation alongside reduced overheads and staff costs. 

In June 2022, Singapore-based Crown Digital announced that ELLA, dubbed the country’s first fully autonomous robotic barista, would be mass-manufactured to meet growing demand for the concept. 

Ella has been serving coffee to commuters at Tokyo and Yokohama Stations. 

Additionally, US start-up Artly raised $8.3m in September 2022 to grow its robotic barista concept across the US. The Seattle-based company currently operates in seven locations across the country. 

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