Meet Tokyo's new robot barista at 'Strange Cafe'

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Meet Sawyer the robot.

While he's not good at small talk - he can brew a mean cup of  joe.

He's the new barista at Japan's first robot café - where everything is automated.

Customers at Henn-na Café, meaning "Strange Café" in Japanese, have to scan a QR code bought from a vending machine in order to buy a US$3 (S$3.93) coffee.

Unlike his human counterparts, Sawyer is programmed to be more productive, serving a maximum of five cups of coffee at a time.

Mr Masataka Tamaki, general manager of corporate planning for H.I.S., said, "By running the cafe with less manpower, we can increase productivity and serve delicious coffee at a reasonable price."

The robot café follows a trend to solve labour shortages in a rapidly ageing Japanese society.

The concept of using robots is not new in Tokyo - robots help check guests in and clean the lobby at THIS hotel, which has become a famous tourist attraction.

Sawyer will make his debut on Thursday (Feb 1) when Strange Café opens its doors to the public.