Robot bartender in the LAVO restaurant and bar by Focus Dynamics

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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 puts on a show with flair, much like what a bartender would, as it is programmed to mimic human movements while it is shaken and drinks mixed. 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.

During the development phase, Executive Director Benson Tay 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.

Update of the editorial team from June 17th, 21st (9:48 am): The above paragraph has been edited because we were notified ahead of time of the cost of developing the robot without management approval and is therefore removed from this article.

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 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 bar experience also includes sitting at the counter to chat 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] The introduction of MixoBot could increase a place’s beverage sales by 50%. ”This was referring to the decrease in beverages returned by customers when 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.

  • You can find out more about LAVO here and Focus Dynamics here.
  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups we’ve covered here.

Post photo credit: Benson Tay, Executive Director of Focus Dynamics



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