Cotti Coffee (库迪咖啡), a fast-expanding budget coffee chain, has made headlines by announcing that it will become the first coffee company worldwide to adopt robots at its outlets on a massive scale.
According to a strategy the firm released on January 3, Cotti hopes to strike the “best possible balance” between customer experience and cost structure through a blend of staff effort and robotic technology.
If the strategy were to proceed as planned, it will make Cotti the first to commercialize robots in the catering industry across the globe, Chinese media reported.
According to the strategy, starting in January this year, all Cotti stores will steadily be peopled by three types of robots.
They will assist human staff with work such as ingredient blending, coffee making and in-store delivery.
The presence of these robot baristas will turn around-the-clock operation into a reality.
According to Cotti, robot-assisted coffee chains lead to four benefits that enhance consumer experience: more consistent taste and quality, better sanitation, extended opening hours, and a novel digital shopping experience.
Slashing labor costs
Across the world, some coffee brands have been toying with robots as an alternative to human baristas to automate the coffee making process. Labor costs represent the bulk of operational expenses incurred by coffeehouse operators.
Cotti was founded in 2022 as an even cheaper version of its domestic rival and Starbucks challenger Luckin.
Apart from promoting robots to overhaul its coffee business, the Beijing-based company said it will deploy robots to all the stores under its new milk tea sub-brand “Cha Mao.”
Asked whether franchise store operators will be made to pay for the robots and in turn pass on subsequent cost increases to consumers in the form of price hikes, Cotti declined to comment, saying no more information is available at the moment.
Data released by Cotti shows that as of today, the brand has been present in 28 countries and regions across the world, operating a total of 7,000 stores, ranking fourth.