Mar 30, 2022 - Technology

Tell your problems to the bartender

A robot bartender named ADAM.
Adam, a robotic bartender, on display during the 2022 Bar & Restaurant Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images for Nightclub & Bar Media Group

Hot trends at this year's Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas: robot bartenders (who presumably keep all your secrets), booze-free cocktails and wobble-free tables.

Why it matters: The show — which was back after a two-year break for the pandemic — featured lots of automation and touchless technology, the better to avoid the spread of germs.

Highlights: A two-fisted robot bartender named Adam that can sling both food and booze (and booze-less booze) is the brainchild of Richtech Robotics, which also makes a hotel delivery robot named Richie and trays-on-wheels that can serve meals in restaurants.

  • "This friendly-looking robot fits in perfectly with numerous environments, all while providing an unparalleled standard of service," Richtech says of Adam.

Other highlights of the show were a self-stabilizing table base from a company called Rockless Table and a disposable lid for bar drinks that's supposed to prevent a would-be malefactor from slipping you a roofie, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

  • "The Captain" is a 4½ inch drink cover (featuring a kitschy picture of a boat captain) that "helps prevent tampering, germs, and foreign substances from ruining your night," according to Ten of Twelve, its manufacturer. 
  • Like Kleenex, The Captain is dispensed from a box one sheet at a time "and can be reapplied multiple times in a night," the company says. "Its food-grade, non-toxic aluminum foil makeup allows it to be fully recyclable."

Other trends at the expo included mocktails and faux booze (which you may have read about here on Axios) and high-tech options for hands-free restaurant and bar service, like apps for online ordering and tableside payment.

  • "The Expo overflowed with exhibitors offering digital tools for bars and restaurants, like inventory trackers, ID scanners with facial recognition (for that dash of surveillance state), and a host of apps to enable contactless menus, ordering, paying and tipping," the Review-Journal reported.
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