Poley.me - the innovative bar of the future

Can robots serve drinks as well as bartenders? It has happened to every human being to stand until boredom in line at the bar to order their favorite drink. Often it gets tiresome and strains our patience and willingness to continue enjoying ourselves. Fortunately, Polish start-up Poley.me has come up with a solution to this problem. The innovative drink-pouring robot they built can do it in as little as a dozen seconds!

How did the innovative idea come about?

One June day in 2019, a group of friends from Wroclaw were spending the day on the rooftop of Wroclaw's Renoma, Urban Garden, and decided to ask themselves. What could they do to reduce the waiting time for their favorite drinks and focus on spending it with each other instead of standing in line. The solution turned out to be simpler than it seemed. All that had to be done was to eliminate the performance of repetitive tasks from bartenders' duties and hand them over to machines. The food service industry itself let it be known that it needed autonomization in serving drinks. And so it was that Daniel Wieczorek, Michal Szarek, Dawid Kościołek and Kamil Paśko founded the startup Poley.me, taking as their mission to give people back their time to spend with their friends, thanks to robots.

The process of creating a company and a robot.

As expected, the road to creating a robot bartender was not as straightforward as it might seem at first. Work on an innovative approach to a new bar worker began with participation in the YCombinator Startup School, only after that the men formed a company called Incredible Machines and began work on the first prototype machine. The construction consisted of several stages. The first, and one of the most important, was the design of the entire machine, how it should work, what functions it should have and how it should meet customer requirements. On the other hand, the software of the machine and the mobile application had to be taken care of, as well as sales, installation and service. Unfortunately, the industry is still nascent, so it was not possible to simply go to a wholesaler and complete a set of parts. The men had to design and assemble the vast majority on their own. That's how, in 2021, a prototype of the Poley.me machine was completed and the first test in real circumstances was performed, during which the first 400 drinks were sold.

Poley.me features and benefits

It goes without saying that a robot just like a human has its own advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses, unique skills and Achilles' heels. The robot needs constant servicing, software updates and parts replacement to function properly. However, let's focus on its strengths:

  • 24/7 readiness - the robot is ready to work all the time, does not get tired and does not need breaks, so it can serve customers non-stop.
  • 27 seconds - that's exactly how long it takes for the robot to go from taking an order from a customer to dispensing a beverage.
  • Hygiene - the entire purchase is contactless in 100%, thus ensuring the highest level of hygiene that cannot be experienced in any of the "normal" bars.
  • Reduce waste - the robot reduces product loss, water and energy consumption, and reduces waste.
  • Mobile app - you don't even have to walk up to the machine to order a drink, just place your order on the dedicated app and you can pick up your drink ready at the machine.
  • Lack of service - the vending machine is so innovative that it can operate without assistance all evening thanks to automated keg replacement.
  • Increased efficiency - Poley.me robot allows you to serve more guests during increased traffic, can prepare up to 120 beers or drinks per hour!
  • Quality of drinks - drinks prepared by the machine are much more precise, because the machine will measure the amount of all ingredients perfectly on its own, which allows you to achieve an exceptional taste.
  • Cost and profit - the price of long-term rental of a robot with a recurring fee is comparable to hiring an additional person to operate a bar, and through increased efficiency, profits will increase in the future. This is expected to increase companies' turnover by at least 10%, which is very high.

Polish robot will prepare a unique cocktail

If you take a closer look at the vending machine's products, you won't notice any difference between having your drink prepared by a person or a machine. However, it turns out that our homegrown startup is responsible for constructing a robot that is even more innovative than you might think. It has the ability to prepare the drink we prefer, but this is not its only option. Well, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, the robot can allow itself to combine very different flavors, taking into account the previous preferences of a particular customer.

A little about the statistics of automatic bartenders

For this moment Poley.me robots:

  • They sold more than 11 thousand beers and drinks
  • The 78% of customers returns to them.
  • They are located in 3 locations
  • Serve up to 33% customers in one evening

The statistics are continuously updated on the official website of the Wroclaw-based startup and can be found at here.

Innovative bar of the future recapitalized

The development of bar robot technology was made possible by the backing of Unfold.vc, a fund focused on new technologies. The fund believed in the company in 2021, expanding its investment categories to include the Raas (Robot as a Service) model, which is increasingly touted as an upcoming trend in service automation. Poley.me has already received a total of PLN 1 million, which has given them a chance for rapid growth and expansion, so they are not slowing down and are just getting ready for the fall funding round. The startup's representatives now assume a broad scaling of their business, first locally in Wroclaw and Warsaw, and later abroad in major European cities.

Should bartenders be concerned about their profession?

This is a fundamental question that is being asked more and more in many industries by the increasing use of robots equipped with artificial intelligence. Fortunately, there is nothing to worry about, as no automaton can replace humans. The originators themselves stress that the machine is not meant to replace bartenders, but to be their partner in their daily work, helping to generate even more profits.

Summing up the whole undertaking of the Polish start-up, this can be considered a very unique idea. Not only is the idea forward-looking in itself, as robots are increasingly appearing in our daily lives, but it is also an innovation on a European scale. After all, it's not often that we have to deal with a robot that can prepare for us a drink we just happen to fancy at the moment. So far Poley.me is developing dynamically and it is worth watching their actions and expansion to more and more Wroclaw, national and European bars.

Albert Kornacki

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