Tipsy Robots coming to the Strip may be more reliable than human bartenders

Updated March 24, 2017 - 6:37 pm

Creating drinks for robotic bartenders to serve is, it seems, very different from creating drinks for human bartenders.

“Yes, of course it was,” said Francesco Lafranconi. “They have a different temper, different behavior than regular bartenders.”

Lafranconi, executive director of mixology and spirits education for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, created the drinks for Tipsy Robot, which is expected to open this summer at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort.

“Sometimes you think you’re challenged by different beverage programs,” he said. “This one was unique in the fact that we had to give consideration to a lot of decisions as far as pouring amounts, ingredients.”

Human bartenders, he said, can free-pour a drink or use a jigger, while the robots use a jigger of exactly 0.75 ounces. And they’re limited in how many “slots,” or steps, they can perform. Out of the 14 available slots, he said, ice alone takes up seven.

“When it comes to shaking the drink, it’s not adjustable,” he said. “So you work with a very rigid, fixed parameter. The first session was challenging and frustrating, a little bit, because you couldn’t go free-range.”

The robots should feel very comfortable among the bar’s decor, which will have elements such as metal mesh and corrugated steel wainscoting. The humans should, too, among wood and upholstery. Other features will include a live social-media wall and a “socially connected” photo booth, and customers will be able to order via iPhone or Android app — or from one of the drink-ordering stations, which also will have charging ports for phones.

The robots, Lafranconi said, will be able to make a drink in 70 to 90 seconds, and they’ll be able to complete such tasks as cutting a lime wedge, grabbing it and dropping it in the drink.

And, he said, there are other benefits.

“They leave their personal issues in the locker room,” he said. “Usually they don’t call in sick, either, other than in a power outage. Other than that, I think they’re going to be very reliable.”

And for drinkers? They can save that tip for the next round.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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