Smart coffee shops are the new trend for retail, darkstores and all chain establishments


  1. The benefits of smart coffee shops I-Coffee
  2. Management of pouring
  3. Integration with the external ecosystem
  4. Marketing
  5. What is the right way to start?

The benefits of smart coffee shops I-Coffee

If you have decided to open in your retail such a self-service area as a coffee shop, micromarket or other self-service corner, read this short article about “smart coffee shops”. We decided to tell you what smart coffee shops are, what they can do and on what each function affects.

Pay attention to popular chain retail like Pyaterochka or Perekrestok, where self-service coffee shops are more for beauty rather than work. All because of the incorrectly chosen technology. For example, when milk runs out, a smart coffee shop should notify the service staff that the raw material ran out and remove from sale drinks made with milk.

smart coffee shops

Management of pouring

If your work scenario involves choosing and paying for a drink in your cash register or mobile app, the coffee machine must pour the selected drink after payment. Pouring is done by direct API or scanning a QR code for pouring. This option is suitable for darkstores, where it is important not to mix up or not to forget which drink the customer has ordered.

For darkstores, the smart coffee shop collects all orders from the CRM and shows the order numbers on the screen. The courier only has to enter the order number or scan the QR code attached to them. Next, to the delivery employee, the exact coffee that the customer ordered will be poured.

Another useful option of smart coffee shops for darkstores is the exchange of available range of goods. For example, if coffee beans or milk run out, the automatics will send information to the CRM system about available leftovers, then the goods are automatically withdrawn from sale.

Integration with the external ecosystem

One of the useful options in a smart coffee shop is auto-return. Imagine a situation in which a drink is not poured or a cup is not fully filled. The smart coffee shop will determine the fill status and, if something is wrong, make an auto return of money and notify the outlet’s administrator about it.

Consider a few more important functions of smart coffee shops:

  • Management of milk drinks. If the milk runs out, the smart coffee shop automatically withdraws from sale drinks with milk.
  • Checking the availability of cups. When cups run out, customers simply leave and it is not always possible to control cup availability. The sensors will inform that the cups have run out or that the threshold value is near the set value.
  • Computer vision. If suddenly the table is dirty or the service staff makes a fill of ingredients without gloves, AI will immediately inform the coffee shop owner about this.
  • Checking the stock of ingredients. The automatic system supports threshold notifications that activate when the quantity of milk, water, coffee beans or cocoa is less than a preset value, for example 30%, 15%, 5%.
  • The temperature in the fridge. If you use natural milk, the temperature in the fridge must be monitored carefully. The smart coffee machine informs you if the temperature values are out of range.
  • Work with smart ovens. Do you know how dangerous it is to let customers set the mode of the microwave themselves? If they use the wrong temperature or wattage, it will lead to spoilage of the product. Smart ovens know which product is in them themselves and use the right wattage and time to heat up or prepare a dish from semi-finished products.

The automatic coffee shop has all the necessary functionality for fully autonomous operation. Because of this, there is a high level of customer service.


In the marketing aspect, smart coffee shops are a real dream for marketers, because they can be used in a variety of marketing activities. For example, coffee can be used as a lead-magnet for any promotional activity. For example, “Buy for more than X and get a coffee as a gift” or “coffee for your friend for a recommendation”. Everything is limited by the marketer’s imagination.

Smart coffee shop is a kind of local marketplace for which any kind of integration with the external retail ecosystem can be set up, including payment for parking, dispensing of goods from parcel automat or distribution of coupons in return of subscriptions in social networks.

It’s impossible not to mention the capabilities of working with corporate customers. How nice it is to buy coffee on account of a salary or a prepaid e-card, isn’t it? And that is not even all of the marketing functions of a smart coffee shop. These also include:

  • promo codes;
  • auto-tasting – where a free coffee is given for leaving phone number or subscription;
  • coupons with the possibility of limiting their duration;
  • integration with social networks to automatically search for new customers;
  • geo-push – if a customer is nearby, an invitation with suggestion to come for a cup of coffee is automatically sent;
  • subscriptions for purchase of favourite coffee drinks;
  • coffee purchase by subscription.

Smart coffee shop can sell not only coffee, but also any accompanying goods. The range is limited only by your imagination and tastes. It can be a culinary products that perfectly complements coffee drinks, or souvenirs, or even all at once.

Smart coffee shop

All management is done through a central module. Any sales scenarios are possible:

  1. Trust. The customer scans the product and pays for it.
  2. Trust plus. First the card is verified, then the door to the fridge is opened, and after that it is possible to debit money from the card for any taken goods automatically.

Identification of goods in smart coffee shops is done through smart shelves that detect which good a customer took.

What is the right way to start?

The undisputed leader in the sphere of smart coffee shops is the brand i-Coffee. These are automatic self-service coffee shops with computer vision and an intelligent management system. You can start a business with a franchise, in which you get both the equipment and a regular supply of raw materials from the franchisor. This is the best and fastest start for people who want to earn money on coffee. You can learn more about the franchise conditions on the official website of

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