Coffee robot is coming for Whole Foods baristas’ jobs

Photo: sarawuth702 (iStock)

The robot apocalypse will not be televised. It will not come with the spectacular flash of a nuclear warhead. It will not come with platoons of armed cyborgs marching down our streets in perfect formation. It is happening in slow, deliberate stages. First, the robots came for our factory workers. Then, they came for our vacuum cleaners. And now, they’re coming for the baristas at Whole Foods.

Supermarket News reports that the newest Houston location of Whole Foods will be replacing its normal in-house cafe operations with a Briggio robotic barista, becoming the first supermarket to adopt this technology. The massive, soulless metal box will allow customers to create customized drinks like lattes and cappuccinos on demand and is equipped to produce both hot and cold beverages. The Briggio also offers teas and other specialty brewed beverages, such as hot chocolate. Customers can order through a touchscreen or a smartphone app. Take a look for yourself:

There was plenty of speculation regarding what the future held for Whole Foods after Amazon purchased the chain in 2017, and thus far most of the major changes have happened behind the scenes. But we must, where Whole Foods is concerned, keep our eyes on Amazon Go, the high tech, cashierless supermarket that has made it past the prototype stage and is already expanding to multiple cities. When you consider Amazon’s treatment of its existing employees, it does make one wonder if Briggio is meant to eventually replace all of Whole Foods’s human baristas. And then, once the coffee machine has lulled us all into a false sense of security, the robot carnage can at long last begin.

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.