Author's blurb: For me, going to the bar usually means sipping at least one cocktail while chatting with everyone I go with that evening. While I always plan to try something new, I would normally be electoral paralysis and settle for something familiar, like a Long Island or a piña colada.
LAVO, a resto lounge in the Persian Tropicana, has installed an automatic bartender to accurately prepare cocktails every time according to the bar's drinks menu.
With the name MixoBot, it is able to prepare drinks within 3 minutes with the exact dimensions of the spirits for each drink. This means that every drink that comes out of the bar is consistent in taste, which reduces the chance that a customer will return a drink, as this is usually an additional price that companies have to pay.
Imitation of human mixologists
Bottles are hung upside down on the bar / Image source: LAVO
MixoBot essentially works by letting customers order their cocktails from the bar menu on an iPad. Bartenders then press a single button that tells the MixoBot which drink to prepare.
Bottles with spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey etc. are hung upside down and mounted on the shelf of the bar. An optical spirit dispenser allows the robot to pour an exact amount of spirits in order to prepare cocktails with the right amount of ingredients every time.
At the same time, it offers a show with flair, similar to a bartender, as it is programmed to imitate human-like movements when shaking and mixing drinks. Once the drink is mixed, bartenders put the finishing touches on with side dishes before serving it to customers.
Drink spilling was part of the process
MixoBot was developed by the F&B and entertainment group Focus Dynamics, which among others owns the LAVO brand. Executive Director Benson Tay told Vulcan Post that it took the team 9 months and at least RM500K to develop the robo-bartender.
During the development phase, Benson stated that the biggest challenge was optimizing the MixoBot's accuracy in pouring beverages into a glass. Spilled and broken glass were part of everyday life for the team.
As soon as it was ready for installation at LAVO, the teams clocked in between 12 and 4 a.m. to set up the MixoBot in the restaurant's bar.
During the day, when customers came to visit and eat, the machine had to be covered with a large cloth before it could be unveiled in April 2021. Unfortunately, MCO was used again shortly afterwards, so MixoBot was dormant for the time being.
However, the restaurant's food and bottled beverages will continue to be sold through takeaways and deliveries while the dine-ins are suspended.
The robots are not taking over … completely
While MixoBot is likely to attract customers as it offers a fascinating experience of making your drinks autonomously, it is also said to be a cost-saving addition to the bar.
This was because human bartenders can sometimes make mistakes when mixing a drink, resulting in customers bringing them back to the bar as the cocktails may not be to their taste.
“The drinks returned are costing the bar and we hope MixoBot can help solve this problem. not just for us, but also for the restaurants that MixoBot serves, ”said Benson.
Part of the experience of going to bars is also sitting at the counter chatting with your bartenders who can curate a bespoke drink for you. Benson announced that MixoBot can be programmed by professional mixologists to occasionally deliver new cocktails in addition to their usual offerings.
So it seems that the robot can do anything a human mixologist can do with even more efficiency and accuracy. But the only thing missing is the human touch, which also adds to the bar experience. Hence, some bars may still choose to hire human bartenders for this reason.
Benson and an influencer, with the MixoBots in the background / Image source: LAVO
Focus Dynamics has also stated that MixoBot's technology will act as an additional source of income for the group. They will rent their robot bartender to interested establishments who may also want to offer such services.
Benson declined to share the cost of installing and maintaining a MixoBot but stated, "(The) introduction of MixoBot could increase a place's beverage sales by 50%." using MixoBot.
In the near future, Benson plans to use MixoBot as an attraction in hotels, bars, events and cruises. The manager is also confident that venues that use a centerpiece like MixoBot can see a return on investment within 12 months of installation.
Bottom line: It may take a while for MixoBot adoption rates to matter, especially when the country's recovery from the pandemic doesn't seem to have an end in sight. That said, it would make for a pretty cool evening to watch a robot mix my cocktails right in front of my eyes at the bar.
- Further information on LAVO can be found here and on Focus Dynamics here.
- For more information on other Malaysian startups we've covered here, click here.
Post photo credit: Benson Tay, Executive Director of Focus Dynamics