Robot barista, Rovii has launched into market and taken up residence at Westfield Doncaster to address labour shortages by providing an always-on service to Melburnians.

Rovii co-founder, Wilson Wang said, “I would always seek out a coffee around 7pm to give me that second wind in the evening, but I found the quality of convenience store coffees to be sub-par. The idea behind Rovii is that Melburnians can enjoy high-quality coffee at any time of day or night without the need for people to physically be standing there staffing and running a cafe.”

Wilson’s business partner Ilona Liu, who runs Tukk and Co café at Docklands, believes there are clear financial incentives for owners to use Rovii in their venues.

“Rovii ranges in pricing from $150,000 to $200,000 upfront, however we calculate that hospitality managers could save around $120,000 per year in staff and operational costs by using Rovii. They can use these savings to invest in other parts of their businesses, such as higher-quality ingredients and eco-friendly packaging,” she said.

The pair said they brought together their experiences as coffee lovers and coffee makers to research ways for people to get caffeinated at their convenience. It has taken them 12 months since having the idea and finding a solution to setting up shop and selling to customers.

“Since the pandemic, the challenges felt across the hospitality and quick service industry have been significant. Staffing is an issue across all areas of hospitality, and Rovii is a solution for this. People in Melbourne have a high standard when it comes to coffee, and Rovii does a great job of exceeding expectations,” Liu said.

As well as being dependable, Rovii is efficient taking approximately one minute to make a coffee, followed by 10 seconds of cleaning. For every 24 hours it is percolating, it undergoes an intensive cleaning cycle of 30 minutes. A Rovii coffee double-shot can be purchased for $4, cheaper than a human-made coffee.

People make and pay for their orders through a touchscreen, which activates Rovii to make coffee by taking the grounded beans to the espresso machine, then frothing the milk, pouring the mix into the cup and finishing with foam art.

As the exclusive operators of Rovii in Australia, Liu and Wang are looking for franchisees to take on the innovative technology and make barista-style coffee more accessible for everyone. “We see potential in many venues having this technology. The pandemic has shown how contactless customer service is preferred by some people.”