Sean Hsu, Co-founder and CEO
It was yet another unassuming day for Sean Hsu as he was working out of a café. Sitting at his table, Hsu observed the difficulties that the baristas faced while making milk teas and coffees during the lunch rush.
As the line began to stretch, Hsu noticed that the complicated recipes limited the staff interaction with guests. Separately, Hsu commonly ordered takeout for his team and noticed that few chain restaurants had drink options beyond a fountain machine – and many guests ended up ordering water. What would it take to simplify the process of creating complex drinks, and then bring those to ANY restaurant?
The next few years witnessed Hsu leveraging his robotics background and experience in liquid dispensing at Tesla to create automated systems ultimately laying the foundation of Botrista, a company driven to make craft beverages more accessible and affordable to food service operators by reducing or removing all the obstacles.
Botrista provides high-tech & easy to use equipment the DrinkBot alongside a line of pre-packaged ingredients. DrinkBot is a cloud-connected automated drink maker using algorithmic dispensing to deliver a variety of craft beverages, including infused iced teas, flavored lemonades, energy drinks, iced coffees, smoothies, and more.
Botrista’s differentiator is that it can serve all-natural and highly viscous liquids, instead of the artificial syrups that are used in fountain beverages. Drinks are ordered via an onboard touchscreen, so the experience is contactless, and they are mixed and served in less than 20 seconds.
“Operators are being asked to do more with less labor and still provide a great guest experience,” says Hsu, who is the co-founder and CEO at Botrista Technology Inc. “Our program allows for a new revenue driving category with little training and very limited space.”
Botrista takes a vertically integrated approach as it provides the hardware as well as the drink ingredients. DrinkBot is connected to the BotristaCloudBar, which provides it with drink recipes, automated inventory management, as well as sales and menu performance analytics. This allows operators to offer high-margin items without the investment in a full bar, as Botrista’s system takes up just 5-sq ft and enables customizable drink recipes at the touch of a button.
Our program allows for a new revenue driving category with little training and no need for a large space
Through its innovative solution, Botrista has enabled many brands to "steal" sales away from customers who would otherwise visit a coffee shop after getting their food - all without the operational complexities that block QSRs/ LSRs from serving these drinks today. For instance, the company helped The Halal Guys, a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant franchise introduce their own line of premium beverages. They had tested bottled beverages, but customers weren’t interested in something that wasn’t fresh and they could buy for less at the store. Plus, its operations team was struggling to strike a balance between their daily tasks and adding more SKUs. The Halal Guys started offering 12 beverages made by DrinkBot, including a variety of teas and lemonades as well as a creamy mango beverage with frothed oat milk. As a result, there was a 115 percent increase in drink sales without the cannibalization of their existing menu. Even more importantly, they increased their profit by over $35k/store-year.