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Distance is the New Black

The world is shaking. The world is changing. Our lifestyles, habits, and traditions will change too. No one can say exactly how the post-pandemic and post-quarantine world will look like. However, one thing is clear” less contact is better. (Hi, Bubble Boy)

6 feet

Virtual product wins

Businesses like Zoom or Google have less to lose, as the employees can work remotely. (some businesses can even save money if they choose not to pay the rent, energy fees, etc.)

But what awaits businesses for whom face-to-face communication is essential? Businesses like restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and coffee shops. It’s possible that soon the following rules and recommendations will be obligatory for everyone:

  • no bar areas
  • limited outdoor services
  • distance between visitors and staff
  • regular sanitizing
  • constant health control of employees
  • no contact of an ill person with food and drinks
  • wearing gloves and mask


Big waves and small ships

When looking at this list, it seems that small in-door shops have equally small chances to survive, as there is no physical opportunity to guarantee a safe distance between visitors and workers. Some try to hold a one-visitor-a-time policy, but when running to work, how long are you ready to wait outside for a cup of coffee?

Street food and drive-in cafes will have to prove the food safety. If giants such as Starbucks and McDonalds have a well-developed management system to quickly set up equal safety standards in each facility (and what’s more important, have enough money to inform clients), the small businesses will have to persuade the clients that the food and drinks provided are safe.

So three parameters can help a business if not to thrive, then at least not to wilt in 2020: safety in the workplace, distancing, and quick service.


thunder crashing

Helping robot hand

Robotic cafes before 2020 were more like a cool futuristic project. But now, it’s a real chance to keep own business afloat or to start a new one.
Rozum Café is one of such projects. Developed in 2019, the café with a robot barista is now purchased worldwide. The robotic cafes already can be seen in Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia.

Rozum Café is a robotic coffee shop with a 100% autonomous and contactless service for clients. Comparing a vending machine and a robotic café is like comparing a horse and a car. The standard café includes professional coffee equipment including an espresso machine, grinder, tamper, WMF machine. A robot works with this equipment in the same way that real baristas do.

The client chooses a drink on the display and pays with a card or phone. A robot barista takes a cup from a special closed dispenser and brews an Espresso, Latte, Cappuccino, Americano, Flat White, or Americano with milk in less than 2 minutes, always following the recipe. After grinding, tamping, brewing, and adding milk and syrups, the robot handles the cup through a small window. The working area of a robotic barista is protected with a 1,5 m high glass. It lets the customer see the whole brewing process and protects the working area from any intervention or contamination outside. The café’s owner can monitor the situation remotely using two installed cameras. The standard café cell doesn’t have such options as adding alternative milk or brewing using several beans sorts at a time, but café developers offer a customization option. So if you want to open your own robotic vegan coffee shop, it’s possible but can take time.

A new start in a new world

A robotic Rozum Café has all three parameters: distance, speed, and food safety. But it doesn’t eliminate human staff. Firstly, the human baristas can be advisors for cafe owners and change or adjust the coffee taste. The idea is that the coffee taste and quality do not change from cup to cup. The quality is robotically repetitive. So if you invite a star barista to set a new brewing setting, your clients will get star coffee each day.

Secondly, the café should be maintained once a day. The maintenance includes the supplements loading (milk, coffee beans, syrups), cleaning (the WMF and espresso machine have automatic cleaning programs, but the glass and order display should be cleaned manually, as well as waste cans). A robotic café could be a supportive side business for big coffee shop chains.

What was anticipated as cold CONTACTLESS robotic service yesterday is welcomed today for the same reason. Irony of the new world. It could be a start for those who dreamed before it all started about their own coffee shop.

It is hard to give up the dream, so maybe it’s time to upgrade it.