How Rozum Café Transformed the MENA Coffee Scene. The robot barista made it into the Middle East. This was a journey like no other — a journey we're going to break down into this article.
to MIDDLE EAST
From a prototype in 2018 and off to a full-fledged robotic network — Rozum Café has come a long way.Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.
One can call it a franchise pioneer: until Rozum Café, coffee automation hasn't got that far in business. Now, there is the very first coffee chain in the world with the robot by Rozum Robotics in its heart… and there are more launches like this to come.
Exciting news, isn't it?
But, before we dive into the future, let's make it clear how the story started.
The Beginning: an Idea that Changed Everything
The name of the franchise we're talking about is Cubo Coffee House. This is a business initiative by EMC, a company in Saudi Arabia that provides local and international clients with services in sports marketing consultancy. They reached out to Rozum Robotics with a bold plan: to launch multiple automated coffee spots across Riyadh. Rozum rose to the challenge.
“ It was more than just supplying Cubo with several robots. The client wanted something new for the coffee house appearance and product features. Our team had to introduce innovative solutions to match this vision."
For latest features, Rozum's crew made the following changes to the regular robotic barista:
Brand new aesthetic. Colored the panels of the coffee point into bright violet, with the client's logo being the center of everyone's attention. The same approach was applied to cups: their design matches the one of the coffee point.
Improved recipes. The team adjusted the coffee recipes to suit the taste of the Saudi Arabia residents.
Cold drinks. To provide the Saudi with refreshing beverages, Rozum put new items into the regular coffee card: Iced Latte, Iced Cappuccino, and Iced Americano.
As soon as both Rozum and EMC moved forward with these decisions, a development cycle brought these changes into life.
It is important to emphasize that one of the important requests of the client was - a high standard of coffee quality and taste.
The particularity of Rozum coffee machine robot is that the manipulator mimics the movements of a human barista to deliver a cup of coffee. Unlike vending options, the coffee-making process in this case is more than pushing a button on a machine."You may have heard the opinion that automation reduces art to a simple act, but this is not the case with Rozum Café", udnerlines Eugene. "When it comes to coffee brewing, there is no difference between a human and our robot. It repeats all the steps of a coffee house employee and makes beverages from the best blends in the specialty coffee segment. If you want a better understanding what Specialty Coffee is, read more here.
“By preserving the process in all its glory, we keep the quality of our coffee at the highest level. You get your latte at a quick pace, with no infection risks, and of the very taste you've come to love. Since the robot never makes mistakes, the quality of the beverage you get is always consistent. You can compare such a drink to a fragrance: you'll always recognize it."
Darya Goncharik Rozum's Head of Marketing
The Breakthrough: First Launches in Saudi Arabia
Choosing the right spot for automated baristas was the next milestone for Cubo Coffee House — and the final decision surprised everyone.
''For business, airports and big shopping malls look like better locations for this invention. While we admit these places are great to start a profitable coffee house, medical facilities should not be discarded'', adds Darya. ''So, in our case, the first robotic barista in Saudi Arabia appeared in a hospital. The King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center became home for our automated coffee maker, and we were grateful that its management was open to this idea. The pandemic, of course, played a role in this installment. Perhaps it was an unconventional option for this type of business activity and yet the most fitting one.''
With COVID-19 still raging on, the robotic baristas are a valuable hospital asset. They provide patients, doctors, and visitors with much-needed safety: since there are no human baristas involved, the risk of infection is lower. The contactless payment system adds even more security against coronavirus, making the solution a great spot to enjoy coffee without much worries.
The launch was such a success that two more coffee points were opened at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center. One of them got a pretty special place at King Abdullah Center for Oncology and Liver Disease, the largest specialized center of its kind in the region.
The Fame: Strengthening the Position
As a franchise, Cubo Coffee House kept evolving. The robotic barista in charge of coffee generated enough buzz to attract new customers. With a flow of clients, more coffee houses were opening across Riyadh. ''I can't claim that it was smooth sailing'', says Darya Goncharik. ''It took some time to choose new locations, get robotic baristas there, and send our commissioning team to set the coffee points up. To launch one robotic barista, one has to properly test it, so commissioning may take up to 14 days. It wasn't the only challenge. For instance, we set one of our first robotic baristas up at King Salman Science Oasis. After some time, the client decided to move the coffee point to another place. So we had to do everything all over again.''
Despite the challenges, Rozum's team successfully launched all the coffee points. This is a list of all robotic baristas under the Cubo Coffee House brand in Riyadh. Currently, you can enjoy coffee at these addresses:
King Faisal Hospital and Research Center, North Tower
For your convenience, Rozum has established a separate map to track all the coffee points with ease.
coffee points map
The Expansion: Getting to Dubai
Apart from Saudi Arabia, Rozum has sent their robotic barista to Gulf Tiger. Dubai has recently welcomed a Food Tech innovation under the brand Area 2071 by Dubai Future Foundation, an organization that builds an innovation ecosystem that includes accelerator programs, incubators, labs, regulatory sandboxes, and knowledge platforms.
Residents and guests of Dubai can find this brand new coffee point at Emirates Towers Boulevard.
''This coffee point differs from our other projects in Riyadh'', says Darya Goncharik. ''We changed the regular outlook by adding two tables to the frame. It was our client's request.''
The fresh aesthetics isn't the only thing that makes this robotic barista special. One of the first visitors to take a look at the coffee gimmick was the Nigerian First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
“ We had no idea she was in town. So seeing her coming in here and watching our robot in action was the biggest surprise ever. Now we can proudly say that the Dubai launch was a great success."
Darya Goncharik Rozum's Head of Marketing
The Plans: Going to Europe
This was quite a journey, wasn't it? But the best is yet to come!
Rozum Robotics is now getting ready to launch more robotic baristas in Europe. Our next destinations are Cyprus and Germany!
Stay tuned for the news!
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