Cocktail shaking robots in a bionic street food bar

Ice + Fries bionic street food bar in Iceland
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ICE+FRIES, a new fast-casual concept bar in the heart of Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, opened this March and has been blowing minds ever since.

This bionic bar is a place like no other, with cocktail shaking robots, a charming AI dog, top of the range Icelandic-fusion street food and a back-of-house that runs entirely on one platform.

According to CEO Priyesh Patel ICE+FRIES is the most advanced robotic restaurant in the world. Visitors can choose between 125 cocktails and 15 gourmet fries specialities.

But what’s most remarkable is that the drinks are served by ‘Tipsy Floki’ and ‘Ragnar’, two robots that make over 150 drinks an hour and simultaneously entertain the guests with flamenco and ballroom dances.

It’s pretty spectacular. Watch the video (the robots enter the video at 1’04’’).

But ICE+FRIES is far more than ‘just’ dancing robots and exquisite cocktails. It’s an experience. And honestly, it’s been a while since we were able to use that word without feeling like a complete fraud, but ICE+FRIES delivers.

The seating area has an iceberg inspired design with sound auditoriums. Guests seated directly under these domes hear a curated playlist of their own choice. The experience is unique to each of the guests.

The walls have a 3D surface on which a light show is projected, showing the life story of icebergs.

The mother company is GLACIERFIRE, a luxury beverage company that uses glacialwater for its production, hence the icebergs in the interior design. By the way, if you are in dire need of some fresh entertaining content, make sure to watch their hilarious commercial on YouTube, filled with great Icelandic humour.

No bionic bar is complete without a bionic dog (is what people will say in the near future). At ICE+FRIES guests can play with an AI-powered puppy. It spends its days patrolling the bar and interacting with guests. It is a smart little creature and alarmingly cute.

With technology running the show left, right and centre, you almost forget that real humans are also working at ICE+FRIES. “Most certainly, the human touch is essential to the bar”, tells Priyesh Patel. The passionate staff wear Viking inspired warpaint and iconic iceberg 3D-printed jewellery. Like we said before, a visit to this bar is an experience.

Food Tech the Icelandic Way

The kitchen team is more than pulling its weight. Chefs and food designers from the Netherlands, Portugal, Uganda, South Africa, United Kingdom and Iceland have created the menu and its unique recipes, says CEO Priyesh Patel.

Dishes such as ‘The Brave Norse Potato’ or ‘Eat Quick, The Volcano Is Coming!’ are sure to spark curiosity. Or what to think of the aptly named ‘The Drunken Bollocks’ (glazed ram testicles with vodka)?

One thing is for sure: this bar isn’t your run of the mill dive.

While the idea of 3D food printing has been around for quite some time now, ICE+FIRE makes it a vital part of the operation. “We have 3D food printers that create garnishes for the drinks and desserts”, continues Patel. “Our volcanic coffee range, for example, includes a macaron-flavoured coffee with 3D-printed chocolate moss topping.”

Next Level Ordering

The bionic bar offers a look into the future; especially when it comes to the ordering process.

The menus are projected onto glass windows at the bar entrance, and as you step forward, light projection way-finders on the floor illuminate the experience that lies ahead.

Guests self-order on their phone or one of the 25 tablets and kiosks. The system is paperless end-to-end. It takes payments and sends the user a receipt with the ticket number via email or text. 

Guests can follow the status of their order on the projection wall, and when the food is ready, they receive a digital confirmation. 

And of course, online ordering and takeout or delivery are possible too.

What about Kitchen Management

With such advanced technology running the front-of-house, you don’t expect the back-of-house to run on pen and paper, do you?

“No, definitely not!”, Priyesh Patel explains, “the whole process from ordering to production, stocktaking and procurement is a closed loop that is powered entirely by a platform developed by hospitality software expert Apicbase.”

The bar manages its recipes, ingredients and inventory in Apicbase. ICE+FRIES populates the digital and online menus with pricing, allergen info and nutritional values.

These are pulled from the Apicbase back-end using the Apicbase API. All menu-related content customers see in the displays comes from Apicbase.

Real time stock status updates

Every registered sale – online or in the kiosks – feeds back through the API into Apicbase and depletes the stock in real time. Then the system uses the inventory status in combination with the recipes to accurately determine the number of portions left in stock.

As soon as a specific product reaches a critical stock level, the menu-item is automatically taken offline and off the displays. The system is always live and accurate and customisable per outlet. 

“This is necessary”, says Patel, “because not all outlets carry the same assortment of menu-items. Some outlets, for example, sell alcoholic beverages as a takeaway while others don’t.”

Apicbase does inventory counts down to raw ingredients, which makes it easy to create a super-precise bill of materials for procurement. This way, the bar avoids overstocking and prevents uncontrolled food waste.

The app also helps to maintain consistency in production. “In our production app for the kitchen staff we display the ingredients of every order and a step-by-step prep guide. All this information, including the visuals for the guide, is pulled from the Apicbase platform.

ICE+FIRE built the production app for the kitchen staff around the Apicbase back-end. Employees have access to step-by-step instructions to ensure consistency at every outlet.

Finally, Apicbase allows ICE+FRIES to calculate a detailed food cost per portion, including wastage. “We instantly know if we’ve reached our target margin. We even incorporate the water and CO2 costs for ice making. The numbers are accurate down to a cent.”

Who's who?

ICE+FRIES, Reykjavik, is the GLACIERFIRE flagship store and a model for the bars that will open across Europe. Openings for Lisbon, Paris and Berlin are already scheduled.

GLACIERFIRE is a beverage company with various luxury beverage products. GLACIERFIRE and its three founders have invested over 2 million dollars for initial costs to establish the concept and become the first robotic bar in Iceland.

Apicbase is the #1 restaurant management software and is powering professional kitchens worldwide. The platform supports back-of-house teams and makes kitchen management time and cost efficient for single and multi-unit businesses.

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Joris Brabants

Joris Brabants