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RC Coffee Brings Robot Baristas to Toronto’s Trendiest Neighbourhoods

The brand’s two Toronto storefronts feature community-specific designs that reflect each location’s distinctive culture

Toronto, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – July 20, 2021) – A robot barista that grinds and tamps coffee, foams milk and delivers premium quality cups of java in less than two minutes has launched its second location at 160 Baldwin Street. The RC Coffee Robo Cafe, powered by parent company KioSoft Technologies, in Toronto’s Kensington Market is a bright, edgy storefront that clearly reflects the tone of the neighbourhood. Beverage orders can be placed using the kiosk’s intuitive touchscreen display or via RC Coffee’s mobile app. Users can view the inner workings through a clear, plexiglass window, giving full access to the robot arm at work.

Another Robo Cafe can be found at 1235 Bay Street in Yorkville. It was originally dubbed the Dark Horse Espresso Coffee Automat, before rebranding. Both the Yorkville and Kensington Market kiosks proudly serve Dark Horse Espresso specialty coffee including espresso, cortado, cappuccino, flat white, latte, americano, plus hot chocolate and Chai latte. Decaffeinated and dairy-free oat milk options are also available.

“Robo Cafe makes a phenomenal calibre of coffee served to perfection every time,” says Brad Ford, General Manager of Coffee at RC Coffee. “RC’s mission is to offer an alternative to the traditional cafe for busy coffee lovers on the go. Our Robo Cafes are fun, dynamic and interactive providing a memorable social-media-worthy experience. Low-touch, automated experiences are integral in foodservice post-pandemic.”

In addition to serving premium coffee beverages, both locations are modern and stylish, featuring bold, yellow Robo Cafe logos. However, the design of each is distinct.

Ford adds, “We have chosen locations for Robo Cafe that have high foot traffic and distinct subcultures. The design of the store is customized to each location’s community. The Baldwin Street Robo Cafe design reflects the vibrant, artistic Kensington community and the Yorkville location has a playful, upscale vintage look.”

In Yorkville, the Robo Cafe features sleek walnut-stained wood and a faux mid-century modern cafe created by the Toronto design duo behind the gallery and shop, Mjölk. In Kensington Market, the storefront is cobalt blue with magnified yellow letters and a bright floral design.

Kensington Robo Cafe had a soft launch in late June 2021, inviting members of the community to try the robotically-made drinks for free and share their feedback. During the extremely successful pilot period, which ran with limited hours from June 22nd to the 25th, 600 free cups were served to enthusiastic customers and hundreds of people downloaded the RC Coffee app.

Customers can find rewards and discounts for Robo Cafes in the RC Coffee app. “We are building a new sophisticated promotional portal and look forward to sharing loyalty rewards and ongoing location-specific specials with our customers. We will also be getting involved in our communities and helping neighbouring businesses market on our platform,” says Ford.

The Robo Cafe team is currently planning a nationwide rollout, with three new Toronto locations in the summer of 2021 and many more in the pipeline. These include Church and Front Street, St. Clair and Yonge, and College Street West in Little Italy.

About RC Coffee

RC Coffee is the showcase of its parent company KioSoft Technologies LLC’s Coffee Kiosk solution. KioSoft, the world leader in unattended management and payment solutions, has been rooted in Canada since 2003, bringing contactless payment innovation to tire inflators and air vacuums at gas stations nationwide, in addition to car washes and laundry rooms. The company has expanded into Coffee to facilitate automation with ease of use while delivering outstanding quality.

Follow RC Coffee on InstagramFacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.
Media Contact: Shari Cogan, [email protected] or (416) 985-2360

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Rise of the Unattended Robotic Café

Dubbed as “the most futuristic way to sip” (Narcity Canda), our Robo Café has made headlines across Canadian and International media for its innovation, style, and most importantly amazing quality coffee. In fact, our robot has shifted the perception of unattended coffee from the traditionally terrible “vending” variety to a new breed of Robot Café that is deliciously predictable. We also make the customer experience seamless, offering a contactless interface where users simply place their order via the RC COFFEE app, scan their QR code at the machine, and the robot barista begins carefully preparing their customized beverage.

               Like any technology, there is always room for improvement – we recently upgraded our single spout espresso machine to a two-spout espresso machine, thereby doubling our productivity. We have also replaced an “XY” train track-like grid delivery system to a cutting-edge robo arm for utmost precision and speed. Consumers can now have their beverage in hand much faster, without comprising quality. We continue to invest heavily in R&D to constantly improve our Robo Café’s capabilities, while improving functionality for customers.

In addition to being the futuristic way to sip, we are also the safest way! Our Robo Café is the perfect solution for the “new normal” as it is contactless and often outdoors. All fresh ingredients are enclosed within the machine and are not exposed to any risk of potential contamination. We’re genuinely concerned for our customers’ wellbeing and are pleased to provide a convenient extension of the traditional café that is ideal for people on-the-go who may not want (or have time) to enter a traditional human café.

According to The Economist, the ‘fearmongers’ claim of robots replacing jobs are ‘overblown’. Recessions and pandemics accelerate automation, but the truth is: humans are irreplaceable as they are kind, compassionate, and empathetic; something robots never will be. With the direction we’re heading, you’re more likely to work alongside a robot than be replaced by one. At RC Coffee, there are many people hustling behind the scenes to ensure that our Robo Café is running smoothly. Automation creates new opportunities in its essence.

To appreciate our technological progress, it’s interesting for us to look back at the short history of “robots” as we know them today. The definition of “robot” in the 1920s was “forced labour” (Oxford Languages), but at that time, the term was not a reality but a mere figment of the imagination where human beings were made with metal. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that the fictional concept of a “robot” came to fruition when Silicon Valley’s SRI International developed “Shakey”. Shakey made its way into history books as “the first mobile robot with the ability to perceive and reason about its surroundings” (SRI International). When Shakey’s full capabilities were realized by the scientific community, though literally quite shakey and awkward, the perception of robots changed. Soon after, a new defintion for “robot” was coined “a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically” (Oxford Languages).

Robots soon began to make their way into the workforce, revolutionizing manufacturing. In the 1980s robots were mostly confined to labs and factories, where they were limited to picking things up and putting them back down again. Honda changed the game when they created a robotics program, where the engineers eventually developed robots who could walk, wave and shake hands. Robotics didn’t stop there “[today,] advanced robots are popping up everywhere. For that you can thank three technologies in particular: sensors, actuators, and AI” (wired.com). Robots went from being a far-fetched figment of the imagination to being intelligent machines that can perform complex and dangerous tasks with the utmost precision and speed.

Robotic technology has come a long way from its science-fiction beginnings, and today, our progress on this front is translating into great benefits; including outstanding unattended coffee. Our RC Coffee Robo Café is a perfect manifestation of the latest robotic technological advancements; delivering high quality specialty coffees, such as lattes and cappuccinos, through a sophisticated self serve kiosk. Utilizing our robotic delivery combined with the power of the world’s most super automatic espresso machine, our robot barista replicates the steps of a human barista, from bean grinding, to tamping and even milk frothing. The result is the highest caliber espresso based beverages that rival the most seasoned human barista’s craft.

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Automated Contactless Coffee – Self Serve Espresso Future

Amidst an unprecedented pandemic, maintaining social distance from one another, wearing masks, and frequently using hand sanitizer, are all apart of our new normal. Remote work has become prevalent, and the use of delivery services has risen dramatically for commodities that people would generally head to the store for. Almost all industries, especially Food and Beverage, have been turned upside down this past year, challenging businesses to adapt to new safety protocols and find creative and innovative ways to stay afloat. Be it QR code menus, new product offerings, curb side pick up or contactless delivery, many companies have successfully pivoted and adjusted to the “new normal” to weather the storm.

A biproduct of  the pandemic is the increased dependence on technology. The need for distancing has forced people to rely more on machines, devices, software, and automation instead of working face-to-face with individuals. Conducting business online, utilization of mobile apps and getting tasks handled remotely has effectively become a priority to avoid in-person interactions.

Though we’ve experienced a world of change, one thing that hasn’t changed is our desire for quality products and experiences like a delicious cup of coffee. There’s nothing quite like the first few sips of your morning coffee or that mid-day cup that fuels your afternoon. While many consumers have turned to more sophisticated home brewing methods of coffee, there’s still no substitute for the real café quality espresso beverages. In a period where human interaction has become problematic, a new alternative has come to the forefront, offering barista level specialty coffees in a safe automated environment. So if you’re looking for a spectacular cup of joe on-the-go, look no further than RC Coffee!

As it was so eloquently stated in NOW Magazine, “You’re telling me a robot made this coffee?” The answer is Yes! RC Coffee is a new venture that offers premium grade contactless coffees from a robot. To dig a little deeper, RC Coffee is an automated, or robotic, barista, serving espresso-based beverages as well as teas, hot chocolate, and decaf alternatives. Coffees can be ordered through our kiosk touchscreen, QR Scan or through our mobile app. Precisely executing the motions of a human barista, our robo-barista will have your beverage in your hands, ready to drink, in less than 2 minutes. To deliver efficiency and quality, we leverage the power of the world’s most advanced super-automatic espresso machine to produce nothing but the finest cups of coffee with no compromise in quality. Our automated coffee kiosk doesn’t take any shortcuts. It uses fresh ingredients and effectively performs all the functions of a real barista, including grinding, tamping and milk frothing.

Given the contactless functionality, RC Coffee has emerged as the ideal solution for the pandemic we are in for coffee aficionados. With cafes all over the country struggling to stay open, RC Coffee recognized the opportunity to expedite our robotic barista concept to meet the ever-growing demand for contactless services. We now offer the safest way to get a great cup of coffee, as all ingredients are protected inside the machine, with no risk of product contamination.

The switch to touchless and digital services was well underway prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to gain even more momentum going forward. Take “tap” payments for example – “ we once went scrounging through our pockets for exact change and now, we can simply tap our plastic for purchasing our items instantaneously, with a digital record available via mobile banking. Furthermore, we can load our cards on our mobile devices and pay by tapping our phones and voila, no need to carry a wallet.

We understand new technology can be intimidating so to ensure your experience at our Robo Café is simple, quick, and fun, our team has put together a few steps for you to follow. Continue reading to learn how to use the RC Coffee Automat with relative ease and enjoy contactless coffees!

1. Arrive at the RC Coffee Robo Café.

2. Order through the touchscreen interface or download the RC COFFEE app.

3. Select your preferred beverage from the menu.

4. Customize your beverage as per your taste and preference.

5. Enter your name to be displayed on the pickup screen.

6. Submit your order.

7. Pay at the Automat via tap payment method, or pay via the App.

8. Scan your QR code/tap your name to receive your coffee.

Ordering from our Robo Café is that simple! Moreover, it is safe and customizable to your preference.

Though we are proud of our technology, we realize that the world will soon return to visiting a comfortable brick-and-mortar café and enjoying a cappuccino, hand crafted by a skilled barista. However, there is room for both robot cafes and human cafes in the upcoming new world! RC Coffee is simply an extension of the traditional café, for people on-the-go who appreciate the speed and convenience offered by our automated system, without entering a café and lining up .

We welcome you to pop by and indulge in a delicious cup of joe from a robot! Our first location is piloting in Yorkville at 1235 Bay St. but keep an eye out for more locations coming soon throughout Toronto.

Your friends at RC Coffee

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RC Coffee Launches Canada’s First Robo Café

Toronto, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – October 7, 2020) – Dark Horse Espresso Bar and RC Coffee are excited to announce the launch of the Dark Horse Coffee Automat, a robotic, contactless, outdoor espresso bar in the heart of Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. Canada’s first Coffee Automat pilot location can now be found in Toronto at 1235 Bay Street for a limited time, as the companies target expansion plans nationwide for 2021.

The Automat is a joint venture, combining the traditional coffee expertise of local favourite, Dark Horse Espresso Bar, with the innovative, self-service technology provided by RC Coffee. The companies have collaborated to refine a fully automated barista that delivers the made-to-order coffee with a premium café experience outdoors.

“We’re thrilled to expand our offerings in the city,” says Max Daviau, VP of Retail and Partner of Dark Horse Espresso. “By partnering with RC Coffee, Dark Horse Espresso Bar is able to serve our locally roasted, ethically sourced coffee to more customers in a new way, while maintaining the high standards they have come to expect from our other locations.”

The new café concept is truly unique. The team partnered with the local design duo behind Mjolk to stage a cozy café storefront and whimsical window display. The display was designed to inject a sense of playfulness and comfort into the coffee experience. Each carefully crafted beverage is served according to Dark Horse’s high standards for premium-quality coffee with options for customization. Customers can order directly through the screen or access the menu via contactless web or mobile app to select their coffee of choice.

“Partnering with Dark Horse has enabled the fullest expression of our robotic barista. This project is the culmination of several years of development by RC Coffee,” says Brad Ford, General Manager of Coffee at RC Coffee. “With our ground-breaking robotic delivery, our autonomous café is able to perform and replicate the functions of a barista to deliver a consistent experience and the highest quality coffee.”

The Bay St. location of the Dark Horse Coffee Automat is the pilot location, with plans for rapid expansion underway. RC Coffee plans to expand across Canada with nearly 100 locations nationwide by the end of 2021.

rccoffee.com

instagram.com/rccoffeebarista

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About Dark Horse Espresso Bar
Founded in 2006, Dark Horse Espresso Bar was among Toronto’s first independent cafés to offer fresh roasted coffee. Today, Dark Horse Espresso Bar is a collection of beloved neighbourhood cafés- each a distinct representation of the Toronto community it resides in.
www.darkhorseespresso.com
facebook.com/darkhorseespressobar
instagram.com/darkhorsecafe
twitter.com/darkhorsecafe

About RC Coffee
RC Coffee provides the real authentic espresso experience that you’re accustomed to receiving from a premium café, in a convenient and modernized service like you’ve never encountered before. We partner with the finest roasters to produce the best-tasting and highest quality specialty coffees.

About Mjolk
Started in 2009 by husband-and-wife design team John Baker and Juli Daoust, Mjölk is a lifestyle shop and gallery, representing work with an emphasis on functionality, craftsmanship, and timelessness. Mjolk has worked on several exclusive product collections all of which explore the theme of daily ritual and is located in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. It has been profiled by publications including The New York Times, Dwell, Monocle, Wallpaper and many more.

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Inner Workings Of Our Robo Café

Inner Workings Of Our Robo Café

Technology meets tradition. Leveraging the power of the world’s most advanced super-automatic espresso machine, “ RC Coffee produces nothing but the finest calibre cups with no compromise in quality. Our kiosk does not take any shortcuts. It does the grinding, the tamping, the brewing, the milk frothing – it even executes temperature control.  It effectively performs all the functions of a real barista in under 2 minutes.  At our Robo Cafés, a high-quality experience is our top priority, which is why we’ve carefully selected our roaster partners and technology partners. We’ve paired the authentic espresso experience with an innovative, automated service like you’ve never experienced before.

TASTE

RC Coffee delivers the finest fully automated coffee experience on the market.  Bringing traditional craftmanship to an automated concept, our technology follows the same processes as a seasoned barista, with a focus on both efficiency and craft. Detailed settings on the machine allow for day-to-day calibration that fine tunes taste and ensures precision with every cup. Through meticulous recipe development by our roaster partners and our cutting-edge technology, we were able to execute our vision of a barista-less café, serving nothing but the finest specialty coffees.

Extra attention is given to the treatment of our coffee as we preserve the quality of the beans by redirecting the heat from the blades during the grinding process. We also use a 24-gram brewing chamber allowing for countless recipe possibilities, perfect for the multiple beverages offered at the Robo Café! Vibrations in the brewing chamber spread the powder evenly before beginning the tamping process – similar to a barista tapping the portafilter but allowing for a better, more consistent extraction.  RC Coffee promises a consistent, delicious coffee every visit and we achieve that by using electronic control that optimizes extraction quality.

CONSISTENCY

On top of the high-quality taste, the Automated Barista also draws on the robotics’ mechanical efficiency and consistency.  Our technology uses an Extraction Time Control (ETC) software to ensure control over the quality of each cup.  Once the flavour profiles are established and recipes are made, the machine accurately replicates the taste by adjusting the grinder and the quantity of powder.  These settings can be recalibrated remotely, allowing us to check in on our Automated Barista and adjust the products to align with our roaster partners’ standards.  The machine’s algorithm learns to optimize and create a consistent, reliable cup.

On top of the precision, the productivity is never compromised as our machine produces market leading quantities of beverages per square centimeter.  Our technology, though only taking up to 80cm of space, can produce over 100 drinks per hour – utilizing maximum efficiency with no compromise in taste. This is perfect for the compact serving space and on-the-go nature of the RC Coffee Robotic Barista.  We pride ourselves on the high quality of our specialty coffees, but we also know that the efficiency of our Automated Barista is what makes our coffee solution so effective. By optimizing our robotic barista to ensure speed, accuracy, and taste, we are confident that our customers will have a unique, enjoyable experience, every time.

SANITATION

As a completely autonomous, unattended coffee kiosk, proper sanitation is of utmost importance which is why our sanitation process is also primarily autonomous. A month’s worth of cleaning tablets can be stored in the machine’s system and dispensed for daily cleaning.  This self-cleaning technology ensures safety as well as the consistent, delicious taste of our beverages.  This function allows us to fully embrace the concept of an unattended kiosk and ensure that our customer’s experience is of café quality.  RC Coffee also goes above and beyond to ensure utmost sanitation, with human servicing and cleaning of the machine multiple times daily.

IN CONCLUSION

Think of our Robo Café as your favourite barista, who is always available at the touch of a button.  With our ground-breaking robotic delivery, we are transforming the coffee purchasing experience. We’ve partnered with top roasters and utilized the most elite, cutting-edge technology to produce a reliable, precise, and consistent Automated Robotic Barista.  With RC Coffee, there is no potential for human error. There is no ambiguity. The recurring experience is deliciously predictable.