Servis. Chili's. Kiwi. Flippy.

Plus our guide to Robo-tenders, Instacart, and the OttOmate Pizza Event!

In this issue!

  • Drink up, buttercup. OttOmate’s Guide to Robot Bartenders

  • Kiwibot + StoreXapp = the future of retail?

  • Bear’s Servis roll into Chili’s

  • Announcing the OttOmate Pizza Automation Event!

  • And more!

Cheers! It’s the OttOmate Guide to Booze Bots

I’ll be the first to admit that a robot-powered bar might not make the best setting for a 80’s sitcom. A will they/won’t they scenario doesn’t have the same punch when Sam is just an articulating arm and Diane is an autonomous tray on wheels.

But what an automated bar lacks in romantic tension, it more than makes up for with speed, precision and cost savings. That’s why there are so many startups working on robot bartenders right now.

Robotenders have a similar pitch as any bit food and beverage automation: Save on labor (a robot works all shifts, no overtime), get a better handle on your inventory (no over/under pours), crank out hundreds of units per hour.

Rinse the tumbler, repeat.

To help you navigate the emerging world of drink ‘bots, we at OttOmate industries have compiled a Guide to Robot Bartenders. From Barney to Yanu and all the beer bots in between, we’ll show you who the big players are in automated booze pouring.

I should point out that robot bartenders aren’t for every bar. I mean, sure, a bar could probably program a robot to yell out your name when you walk in, but that… just wouldn’t be the same. Your favorite dive bar is not going to get a robot.

But that hot LED-soaked nnn-tssst-nnn-tsst-nnn-tsst EDM club that is only interested in cashing in on its throngs of customers? Why not bring in a robot or two to just churn out drink after drink? No one’s there for a hand-crafted cocktail, or to find solace in the advice from a grizzled old bartender. Customers in those places are there to drink and dance. Besides, having worked at a nightclub myself, bartenders don’t want to talk with most customers either (unless they tip well).

Regardless, OttOmate’s Guide to Robot Bartenders is a great starting place for any restaurant, bar, resort or hotel looking to mix it up with robots. And I guarantee you if you’re with a hotel or bar, everybody at the startups listed in our guide will definitley want to know your name.

Sha-la-la-laaaaa. Oh. Whoops. Wrong sitcom.

🔒Drink in all the Robot Bartenders

Quick reminder that 🔒 stories are for paid members. So become one! We’re adding a new events benefit to make memberships even more valuable (scroll down for more).

Kiwibot and StoreXapp hook up for robot retail + delivery

So here’s a trend that is poised to accelerate quickly: Robot-powered stores using delivery robots to service exclusive, limited areas.

Case in point: StoreXapp, which makes fully autonomous retail stores, has partnered with delivery robot startup Kiwibot to offer an end-to-end robotic food ordering service for students at Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

This follows news we broke last week that in Turkey, Speedy Market is offering a similar fully autonomous store+delivery service to residents of the Skyland luxury high-rise building.

If the LMU pilot works, expect similar programs to pop up at more colleges across the country.

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You Should Attend the OttOmate Pizza Automation Event!

The global pizza market is valued at $132 billion(!). Where there’s money there’s opportunity. That’s why OttOmate’s first online event is all about pizza!

On November 19 from 10 a.m. - noon (pacific time), OttOmate will gather together top execs from the world of pizza together to discuss the delicious future of pizza-related robots and automation. The event will be online on the Hopin platform, so you can attend from wherever you are!

Paid OttOmate subscribers can attend this and all our mini-online events for free, so if you haven’t already, upgrade your subscription today! (A monthly subscription will be less than the cost of a ticket)

More speaker, session and registration details to come in a follow up email, but mark your calendars now!

Interested in speaking or sponsoring this or any OttOmate event? Email me and let’s chat.

Chili’s get Servis

We scooped the news yesterday that Bear Robotics’ Servi robots are new being used at ten different Chili’s locations across California, Texas and Florida.

Servi is basically a self-driving rack of trays and bins meant to carry food, drinks and dishes around a restaurant so human servers can focus on higher value tasks like customer service.

Read on to hear from a Bear’s COO about the deal, as well as learn how many robots are being deployed, and why nabbing Chili’s isn’t just a feather in the cap for Bear, but could also provide a high-visibility boost to the robot server market here in the U.S.

🔒Read More

Flippy gets its (chicken) wings

Miso Robotics announced today that its Flippy robot is getting a new gig with Inspire Brands and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Dubbed Flippy Wings, the new twist on the Flippy platform was given a few modifications to make it a chicken wing frying machine. It’s already being used by Inspire brands at its innovation center and will eventually find its way into a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant sometime next year.

While Flippy started out grilling burgers, its frying capabilities seem to be catching on more with restaurants. Flippy’s been working as a fry cook at Dodger Stadium and last year started working the fryers for White Castle in Chicago.

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With its Caper acquisition, Instacart will make YOU an unpaid gig worker

First off, sincere congrats to Lindon Gao and the whole Caper crüe. The smart shopping cart startup was acquired this week by grocery delivery giant Instacart for $350 million.

Caper’s smart carts feature cashierless checkout and a big touchscreen for in-store guidance (and ads!). These features alone were probably worth the price because they’ll enable Instacart’s human gig workers to fulfill orders way faster (no standing in checkout lines!).

But there’s a bigger reason Instacart bought Caper — and that reason is you (the most important person in the whole wide world is you!). I wrote about the data Instacart will get about you through Caper’s tech, and what the company will do with it. (Think: Facebook)

🔒Read More

Also, I can’t write about Caper without thinking of this Strong Bad episode (just the claps!).

Gatik’s SUPER interesting Series B

When autonomous middle-mile delivery company Gatik announced its $85 million Series B this summer, that big chunk of funding cheddar was news in and of itself.

But in the months since then, that round has only gotten more interesting as we learn exactly who participated in it. This week Gatik announced that trucking/logistics giant Ryder participated in that round. There seems to be some quid pro quo as Gatik also announced it would lease and autonom-ize a fleet of Ryder delivery trucks.

News of Ryder’s participation follows the Gatik’s announcement last month that tire company Goodyear also invested in its Series B.

Gatik has assembled a roster of smart investors that could help the startup drive off with the self-driving middle-mile delivery market before anyone else can even get out of the gate.

Read More

Get Up to Speed(y Delivery) on Grocery Automation With Grocery Dive's Jeff Wells

This week’s OttOmate podcast guest is Jeff Wells, Lead Editor for Grocery Dive and one of the smartest folks covering the changing grocery biz.

When we recorded this podcast, Jeff had just published a big story on Kroger’s move into half hour delivery, so we naturally chatted about that, as well as whether automated fulfillment is living up to its promise in grocery and the looming presence of Amazon over the industry.

It’s a great conversation that you should definitely check out.

🔒Listen to the Podcast

Last week’s podcast with Karakuri CEO, Barney Wragg is now open to everyone, so go listen to that awesome chat as well!

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!

Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ‘90 rulez.

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