Advertising itself as “the world’s most advanced food and drinks robotic bar,” a new restaurant has opened in downtown Reykjavík, mbl.is reports. Serving up “bionic fast casual dining” – that is, 3D-printed French fries with toppings ranging from foraged flowers and seven-day cured egg yolk to chocolate lava cake and dulce de leche sauce, ICE+FRIES is presided over by two robot bartenders that can shake up 135 cocktails an hour and a bionic dog named Aibo that responds to customer commands.
“The idea is that it’s a fast, casual self-service restaurant,” co-owner Priyesh Patel explained in an interview. “You come in here and you fully control your entire experience.” This goes for the food and drink, which customers order via a touchscreen at their table, as well as the music, as each table is equipped with its own sound system from which guests can select a playlist to suit their mood, be that Ice (Tranquil/Dreamy), Fire (Upbeat/Lounge), or Volcano (Expressive/Groove).
Although Priyesh stresses that “we still need human beings in every aspect of the business,” robotics are the key feature here, cutting out labour costs and allowing for high volume production – over 3,000 meals a day. Robots, he notes, “can work 24 hours a day.”
Priyesh, who was born in Uganda, educated in the UK, and currently lives in Portugal, is a “creative person,” with a variety of e-commerce businesses and real estate businesses in addition to ICE+FRIES. He’s also a developer and built all the restaurant’s code and tech himself.
Speaking about the choice to open a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic, Priyesh admitted that “the virus is a real threat for every business, there’s no doubt about it. However, we’re here for the long-term…these are short-term problems that will come and go. We have the capital to weather the storm – we’ll sit here and wait until the good days are back.”