Meet The "Bionic Barrista" Whose Mission Is To Terminate Millions Of Minimum Wage Jobs

Tyler Durden's picture

Tired of your barista giving you attitude, spitting in your coffee if you only mention Trump, or misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Surely a robot could do better. Well, we are about to find out, because on Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center Digital Trends reports. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better. Or rather just one machine. 

Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency and utility will.

And it surely will, because while its name may be Gordon, its title is the "bionic barrista" and its primary mission is to terminate millions of minimum wage jobs around the globe, boosting the bottom line for major coffee chains everywhere, whose growth has plateaued and who are desperate to cut on overhead costs. Already the average Cafe X coffee costs more than 10%, or 40 cents less than a similar drink at Starbucks. With greater scale the price will only drop.

While offering clear savings for the business, there will be some tradeoffs - introducing automation and robotics into food service will reduce costs and increase efficiency at the expense of customization and a "human touch." Some companies - and clients - may prefer a personal experience to an efficient one, or a customized product. The company behind Gordon, however, disagrees: “There’s a lot of work that goes into great coffee. The Cafe X system is designed for humans and robots to collaborate,” Cafe X explains on its websites. “Smart robotics and machine learning working autonomously allows our operations team to focus on sourcing and using fresh ingredients, maintaining extremely high hygiene standards, and ensuring a great customer experience with every single interaction.”  According to Cafe X, a great customer experience involves efficiency and replicability. “By being automated, we guarantee every cup of coffee you are served from a Cafe X machine is how the roaster intended you to enjoy their coffee,” Cafe X CEO Henry Hu told CNET.

For clients, the efficiency improvements and passed-through cost savings will likely more than offset any loss of a "human touch" - you can order your cup of coffee ahead of time with the Cafe X mobile app and even schedule a pickup time, if you want. Thanks to the robot’s artificial intelligence software, your pre-orders are taken into consideration alongside walk-in orders to ensure that no one is waiting for too long. And with a single robot capable of making 100 to 120 cups of coffee in an hour, you likely won’t be waiting long at all.

And since bionic barristas not only do not expect a weekly paycheck, but need no healthcare of benefits, the choice for Howard Schultz' replacement is clear. Oh, and to those 10,000 refugees who had hoped to get a job at Starbucks, our condolences.

Watch "Gordon" in action here:

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reader2010's picture

Buuuuuut,  everyone who knows how to drive can make tons of easy moola by becomingreal estate agent or subprime mortgage pros,  can't they?

itstippy's picture

When I was a child in the early 1960's we lived in a trailer court.  At the end of the lane was a heated cinderblock building that had coin operated washing machines, clothes dryers, two hot shower stalls, a pop machine, a candy machine, and a cigarette machine.  Pop, candy bars, and hot showers were 10 cents.  I don't know what the clothes washers & dryers or smokes cost because I was too young to use them.

No attendees.  Herb checked the machines every morning, emptying the coin boxes, refilling the dispensers, emptying the ash trays, and generally tidying up.  You were on your honor to leave your empty pop bottle in the rack on the side of the machine, since they were returnable 16oz bottles.

No graffiti, no vandalized machines, no kids molested in the showers, no used needles lying around.  Fully mechanized conveniences with zero human staff and very few problems.  South Central Wisconsin trailer park circa 1962.

DemandSider's picture

Where do you think those machines were made?

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

This design is gimmicky and inefficient. They put a robotic arm in front of a Kerig. The hamburger machines they are building in Austin are much better.

Angus McHugepenis's picture

I haven’t set foot into RiotBucks (Seattle) or any other contender for 20 years. I’m starving the beast, what else can I do?

And I love coffee... yet I buy an entire jar of it for $4.00. Coffee tastes great whether you drink the dog-piss instant version in the middle of nowhere or think you are drinking the best dog shit you ever tasted for $4.00 per cup in the city.

A $4 jar lasts me MONTHS. I know idiots who spend $10/day drinking coffee from Franchises and they wonder why they’re broke? $300/month on coffee from whatever source they choose? Are you fucking kidding me???????

Wow... just fucking WOW!

Dr. Bonzo's picture

It's time to exercise the bionic middle finger and tell them to shove their coffee up their shiny metal ass.

StychoKiller's picture

Hey!  That sounds vaguely like Copyright infringement!

moorewasthebestbond's picture

New home construction is well proven to be faster and safer when robot assembled.


We should be living in a leisure society with robots doing the dirty work, but then Wall Street and the FED would have nobody to exploit.

Fred123's picture

We need a higher minimum wage so we don't have to listen to these whiny college twits.

DemandSider's picture

TRM DemandSider Feb 3, 2017 7:54 PM "As a techie for 3+ decades (fully employed at a very decent wage) I have been telling both mine and everyone else's kids that robotics is the future."

Techie, you didn't answer the question. Where are these robots made? Your answer, along with the countries of origin of virtually ALL durable goods consumer products, is the reason the middle class is collapsing, NOT technology.

Vlad the Inhaler's picture

Starbucks CEO says he will only use robot baristas made in Muslim countries.

EBT excepted's picture

dud dat muzzlom robot uses da wipin' hand o' da eatin' hand?...


when ah gets me one dem, I is gon' be nigrow rich...hunned dollah beel 'n' a gold toof...

DaBard51's picture

Keurig, my robot is named...



When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

Wild E Coyote's picture

That robot, has been around for over 30 years.
I personally implemented various projects with the so called articulated robots.
Nothing has changed after all this 30 years.
They are not going to replace humans.
Why in hell such articles continue appearing?
Promotion of some robot company stocks?
I can tell you robots will replace humans only on 2 conditions.
1. Robots become humans and consume less energy.
2. Humans are paid at least $200,000 per annum.
I do not see any of the 2 happening, so relax.
Unless of course, highly paid individuals in finance sector are to be replaced. That is easily done.
No need robots, just programmed computers.

effendi's picture

I've worked in packing plants. In one packing plant (putting bulk milk into long life cartons) they had 2 production lines, on mine I had to stack the boxes onto pallets and shrink wrap and there was 2 workers, the other line had a robot and it worked alone. That was 5 years ago and by now they probably have robots on both lines as having 3 shifts of workers with wages,shift allowance, holiday pay, payroll tax, HR management, insurance etc must have cost over $10,000/week.

Benjamin123's picture

Thats cause its a simple job.

You dont see as many dockworkers as before, due to shipping containers and specialized giant cranes. Before it was a small army carrying sacks on their backs up and down a ramp. Not that there was anything wrong with that, people act as if unskilled manual labor is a very rare and precious resource that we must save for only the most important times or we risk running out of it.

Historically all the unemployed unskilled people are put either on welfare or busy doing nothing at a bullshit job.

ZeroHegemony's picture

Automation is a reality, I can assure you. The next ten years will see some very different company strategy. As a business owner, I see the biggest threat to our competitiveness is going to come from government regulation to create new taxes to compensate the unemployed.

Benjamin123's picture


And in 10 years more videos of servomechanisms, articulated metal bars and pressure sensors.

Sunny2's picture

Exactly, this robot arm looks cool, but what it does - it moves cups around. I believe there are more effiient ways to do it.

dchang0's picture

Yeah, they could've done the same thing with a simple coffee vending machine, but it doesn't look as sexy and has been around for decades, so it doesn't make headlines.

Iconoclast's picture

Valid points and no mention of the set up cost for this, I'd estimate 100K just for the single arm robot not withstanding the r&d investment required to get up to that point and the set up cost in the mall etc. So it could be a 200 grand investment for each small kiosk. 200K cups needed to be sold to recoup the investment. Fail.

No doubt there's areas where AI will decimate but this ain't one.

DarthVaderMentor's picture

I'd rather be served by a robot than any so called "barrista" at Starbucks or any west coast based gay socialist coffee shops.


I have happily boycotted Starbucks for almost a decade now and saved tons of money with Keurig units.

Silver Savior's picture

What's wrong with gay socialist coffee shops? lol. 

JailBanksters's picture

Can you teach a robot new tricks ?

How NOT to Roast Coffee beans to a crisp

How NOT to make Burnt Coffee

FIAT CON's picture

I guess Starsuck will be hiring 10,000 refugee robotic coffe machines.  


Hillarys Server's picture

Is it cheating if a different robot makes you coffee in the moring than the one you had romance with the night before?

Zip, zip. Here's your coffee.
-- Thanks.

Zip. And here's your d-ck.
-- Ouch!

firestarter_916's picture

I enjoy the hot girls who make these drinks and I don't have a robot fethish, therefore, not for me.

StychoKiller's picture

Oh yeah?  Well, I have a hot fembot fetish, therefore no meatbags for me! :>D

StopBeingstupid's picture

I did not see Frappuccino on there and that is what Starbucks mostly sells and where the profit is . That is just a glorified krups maker and nothing special other than a robit arm .

Reptil's picture

There, problem solved.

are we there yet's picture

Siri told me to down vote you or she would talk to my cars navigation system.

are we there yet's picture

I'll pay extra for a barista with a 'D' cup and low cut blouse. Otherwise, I like Mr. Robot.

DIGrif's picture

DANG....looks like the $15 per hour the losers were gonna get is actually going to be $0 per hour. Now normally I don't necessarily agree with putting someone out of a job, but when you want to be paid like a PHD when you are in fact a burger flipper.....well.....piss off.

marts321's picture

aka a vending machine.

FlipSide's picture

One very big downside to all this automation. Its design is to replace human workers.  Now the economy is based on humans earning a wage and then spending it. If everyone is replace by these unpaid automatons, who do they expect is going to be able to afford their products or services anymore?

Benjamin123's picture

Is not "everybody", only those employees doing repetitive unskilled manual labor under factory conditions. Like welders that always weld the same two parts 100 times a day in an assembly line.

Its difficult to replace a bricklayer or a fry cook with a robot because conditions are never the same. But in case you are still worried, the solution for automation, or mechanization in general, is entrepreneurship. If a robot took your job, then either learn to make and sell robots or buy robots and put them to work for you at your own company.

I dont like the term "robot" a lot, these are just machines, im sure any form of mechanization reduces demand for workers, people act like robotic arms are somehow different than sewing machines or diesel trucks (which destroyed many jobs of taylors and buggy drivers).

If under no conditions you can prosper, take up arms and start a guerrilla war.

Benjamin123's picture

Its just a stupid robotic arm to move around coffee cups.

Strat-O-Sphere's picture

Redundancy is a great thing. Profits privatised, costs socialised. Genocide of impoverished redundants or let the central money printers screw out a basic income to keep up the illusion of a functioning consumer capitalism. 

Iconoclast's picture

And once the service economy has been decimated through job losses what comes next? Universal basic income in a cashless, global society?

Ghost Writer's picture

Does anyone think that the asset owning class will want to subsidize a population liability.  At best they will gather in their gated communities and watch the less fortunate fight it out.   At worst they will actively seek to eliminate marginal people.

...and who knows maybe this will become the new law of selection, and a couple millennia we will be a stronger species for it.

That's not to say that it's ethically or morally right

Inevitability's picture

Do not fear the machine.


I was at a resort near Tulum, talking with some folks at the bar. Guy told me they were TRAVEL AGENTS! I was dumbfounded. I asked the guy "Hasn't the internet pretty much killed that as a business model? ( I was there via Expedia).

The dude goes "Oh hell no! business has never been better. We're here at a training seminar to meet the demand." His clients he went on to explain are all in their sixties. "Those people don't use the internet."

Shed Boy's picture

many years ago there was a comic book hero named Magnus, Robot fighter. In addition to fighting evil robots, he warned people what would happen if people got to dependant on them.

Let it Go's picture

Polls show a majority of Americans support a higher minimum wage, however, raising the minimum wage will make America less competitive and slow job growth. The solution of mandating a higher minimum wage to address growing inequality sidesteps the core issues we face.

It is my feeling the many people that believe this will put more money into the consumers pocket and thus create economic growth  fail to recognize it will also spark inflation and reduce opportunity. The article below delves deeper into this complex issue.

Last of the Middle Class's picture

At least that fucker can't try to start a conversation about immigration. That at least makes it smarter than the "barrista" whatever the fuck that is. That's definately a step forward.

ArtOfLife's picture

But will it write my name wrong on the cup. That really adds something to the Starbucks experience.

swampmanlives's picture

I wish there was a robot that could wipe my ass

TGDavis's picture

You know, I will miss the greasy hair, piercings, tattoos and stubble.  And that's just from the female staff.

TGDavis's picture

You know, I will miss the greasy hair, piercings, tattoos and stubble.  And that's just from the female staff.

grunk's picture

But can these robots riot?