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Upcoming Whole Foods store to house robotic barista

“Connected coffee” kiosk makes custom beverages on demand

The new Whole Foods Market opening next month in Houston will house a Briggo robotic barista, marking the first supermarket location for the gourmet coffee kiosk.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods plans to open a 40,400-square-foot store at 515 Elgin St. in midtown Houston on Nov. 7. Briggo’s Coffee Haus station will enable customers to create customized drinks on demand, including hot and iced coffees (including cappuccino, espresso and latte) and teas as well as seasonal and specialty beverages.

Whole Foods shoppers can order their drinks in advance via the Briggo mobile app or at multiple touchscreen kiosks inside the store. Briggo said its robotic technology crafts the beverages in minutes from coffee beans, fresh dairy and gourmet syrups.

The Briggo Coffee Haus comes to the store through the specialty grocer’s Friends of Whole Foods Market program, which provides independent retail spaces to outside vendors for enhanced eating and drinking experiences.

"We are always looking to deliver fresh convenient experiences for our shoppers," Jessica Johnson-Keller, southwest regional vice president for Whole Foods, said in a statement. "Briggo aligns with our Friends of Whole Foods Market mission and quality standards, and we're thrilled to have such an innovative local partner."

At the midtown Houston Whole Foods, Briggo will serve its own whole-bean Latin American blend and the retailer’s Allegro Bel Canto and Decaf blends. Customers also will be able to create their gourmet drinks. In addition, Briggo Blend packaged coffee will be sold at the store and online.

"We're honored to be selected by Whole Foods Market to deliver a transformative in-store coffee experience,” said Kevin Nater, CEO of Austin-based Briggo. “Briggo uniquely offers premium quality and consistency to on-the-go customers, and we couldn't be more excited to serve the Houston community with such a beloved grocery retail partner.”

Briggo said the Houston-Midtown Whole Foods Coffee Haus will be the brand's second Houston location and one of several openings in the fourth quarter. After an initial launch at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center in 2018, Briggo Coffee Hauses have now been deployed at airports, convention centers, corporate offices, hospitals and grocery locations in Austin, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Francisco.

The midtown Houston store is one of a flurry of openings planned by Whole Foods in the coming weeks. Yesterday, the chain opened a 45,000-square-foot location in West Seattle, to be followed by a 34,500-square-foot store in Beverly, Mass., on Oct. 18; a 45,000-square-foot store in Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 23; a 70,000-square-foot store in Tysons Corner, Va., on Oct. 30; and a 47,000-square-foot store in Parsippany, N.J., on Nov. 6. Also slated for a Nov. 6 opening are a 40,000-square-foot store in Tempe., Ariz., and a 28,500-square-foot stoe in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

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