Robbie, Zabka's 24/7 Hot Dog-Making Robot, Debuts in Warsaw Convenience Store
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Robbie, Zabka's 24/7 Hot Dog-Making Robot, Debuts in Warsaw Convenience Store

Robbie, Zabka's 24/7 Hot Dog-Making Robot, Debuts in Warsaw Convenience Store

Zabka Polska, the largest convenience store chain in Poland (or Central or Eastern Europe, for that matter), operates about 8,000 stores across the country. Known for its innovative spirit, the company launched its first Zabka Nano autonomous store in June 2021, followed by a 25-store rollout announced in January.

According to the company, each of these autonomous stores “enables quick shopping without checkout clerks, queues, or cash to sell products precisely matched to location and customer demographics.”

The stores operate in several formats, such as standalone shipping container-inspired stores, traditional brick-and-mortar stores, and store-within-a-store points of sale – each leveraging AI-powered computer vision technology created through cooperation with U.S. technology company AiFi. Depending on the format, each store offers 450 to 1500 products. So far, a total of 44 Zabko Nano stores have been opened in several cities across Poland.

The most recent innovation at these stores is a hot dog-making (and serving) robot called Robbie. The first Robbie robot unit was installed in an autonomous Zabka store in Warsaw. The device was created in a joint effort by Zabka and VeloxAlpha, a robotics and software technology firm with headquarters in Krakow, Poland.

“In cooperation with the team of VeloxAlpha, we created the Robbie robot, which automatically and fully hygienically prepares for customers of Zabka Nano hot dogs with their favorite toppings,” said Pawel Grabowski, head of unmanned solutions at Zabka Future. “It is the first of its kind on the market.”

To order, customers enter the store using the Zappka app, a smartwatch, bank card, or the Apple Pay or Google Pay app. Using a touchscreen, customers place their order in three steps on the menu, selecting from two hot dog sizes, two hot dog types, and six different sauces. A hot dog is ready within 40 seconds, with the robot informing the customer by a message on the screen and by a voice message.

“The main stimulus for the creation of our product was the currency used by man today – time,” said Lukasz Drewnowski, CEO and co-founder of VeloxAlpha. “Our products should make life easier, be user-friendly, and be available 24/7 for everyone. Technology plays a key role in guaranteeing quality, increasing food preparation safety, and ensuring constant availability.”

Published: July 1st, 2022

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