Pepper x Marina Mall Abu Dhabi (Robotic Gelato Bar)
In the current times when social distancing and contactless service have become the new normal, Pepper has joined hands with Eka and Tony robots at Abu Dhabi’s first gelato bar entirely staffed by robots. QUOKKA, a local UAE-based company that is devoted to serving the best quality of gelato with a unique twist of robotic technology, has partnered with NISKA Retail Robotics, an Australian-born tech start-up pioneering the emerging trends of robotization of retail, to open this ice cream store in the United Arab Emirates. The store is present inside the premises of Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, and operates every day during the working hours of 9 AM till 10:30 PM.
Our Master Distributor in the Gulf region, Jacky’s, has worked along with NISKA’s technical team to integrate their solution with Pepper. Jacky’s Business Solutions LLC is one of the pioneering leaders in the innovation and marketing of humanoid robots of Softbank Robotics for the GCC areas such as UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain.
In the new retail era of excessive acceptance of the E-commerce world, retailers must innovate and thrive continuously to cope with the competition. NISKA ice cream parlor did that just in time. Initially owning Luka chocolates and after discovering fewer growth prospects, NISKA decided to go for a technological approach wherein operations could be consistent worldwide. Their main aim was to revolutionize the retail market through a fully integrated system that utilizes cutting-edge robotic technology.
About the fully robotic staff, Ms. Kate Orlova, CEO, and Co-Founder of NISKA Retail Robotics says, “People are passionate about sharing their cognitive skills and experiences with each other. In general, the customers already present in the store assist the new customers and explain how to place their orders. And when new customers place their orders without any manual assistance, they express joy with gestures like clapping or cheering.”. About the future of the retail market, she mentions, “Unattended robotic retail is a fast-growing industry and the Middle East is a great market for such technology to flourish.”
Pepper has been deployed as a sales assistant at the store to proceed with the orders from the Robotics ice cream vending machine. He greets the customers and assists them with suggestions on gelato flavors and instructs them on placing orders. He also engages the customers by playing or dancing with them or taking a selfie. Additionally, he suggests customers follow the shop’s Instagram.
Eka, another robotic staff member has just one arm but scoops like a pro. And Tony has expertise in delicate tasks like adding toppings and pouring smooth melted delicious chocolate into the cup and delivering the final product.
The first NISKA Robotic ice cream bar was opened in Melbourne, Australia in September 2019 in partnership with UNSW Sydney, Kuka, Baxter, and SoftBank Robotics Australia. The data collected on the working of the store had shown that people were willing to wait for an additional 15-20 minutes to order from Pepper. Sales figures were around $3000/day during the first 3 months of operation and they amplified to $4600/day during school holidays and other special occasions. It all shows that the social acceptance of robots in the human environment has been achieved positively and this motivated NISKA to move into the UAE market with their next store.
Watch Pepper and his robotic buddies working at the store:
Which flavors would you want to try at this robotic ice cream bar? Don’t forget to dance, play or take a selfie with Pepper while feasting on your delicious ice cream.