Retail robotics startup Niska just opened up a Robotic Ice Cream Bar in Melbourne’s Federation Square. It’s staffed by three robots; Pepper, Eka, and Tony.
You might be familiar with Pepper who comes from Japan’s Softbank Robotics. The robot has been seen at retail shops, airports, and hospitals. Pepper can have conversations, express emotions and even make eye contact. About 2000 companies around the world are using the multilingual robot in some capacity.
Robot Ice Cream Bar Features Pepper, Eka, and Tony
At the ice cream parlor, Pepper will be greeting customers and taking orders. There are even photo spaces available within the store for customers to take pictures with the robot. As far as the other bots go, Eka is a robotic arm that will scoop the ice cream while Tony will be adding toppings like chocolate syrup and sprinkles.
So robots are fun but what about the ice cream and gelato? It’s high quality and locally produced in Melbourne. They feature 16 flavors such as Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Rocky Road, Cookies and Cream and Rainbow. Even better Niska is all about the environment as their ice-cream cups are made from clear polycarbonate with a P5 grade (that means 100% recyclable).
More Than a Novelty?
Time will tell if the Robotic Ice Cream Bar will be successful or just a cheap novelty. Like any place using robots, they will attract customers at the beginning but the product and service will need to be top-notch for long term success.
Niska isn’t content with just serving ice cream. They are looking to utilize robots in other types of retail establishments.
“For us, ice-cream is just the beginning. We’re looking to expand the robotics into other areas of retail. The future is here and it is exciting! We look forward to changing the retail game and pioneering retail robotics,” said CEO and co-founder Kate Orlova.