White Castle from California is a burger chain that is testing a “robot cook” together with the company Miso Robotics. According to the fast food company, this is a test run – in a branch near Chicago – to use the robot named Flippy in the whole country if successful.
Tomorrow’s kitchen by Flippy?
White Castle Vice President of Shareholder Relations Jamie Richardson wondered months ago how to start thinking about tomorrow’s kitchens today. And spoke in general of a development that does not stop at fast food kitchens. This called Miso Robotics on the scene.
“I think automation will stay and this is the first example of a really big, credible ‘player’ to take this journey,” said Buck Jordan, CEO of Miso Robotics, of the new collaboration with White Castle.
The tech company is already working on installing a new version of its Flippy robot. The “robotic fry cook” is integrated directly into the restaurant’s “point-of-sale system” so that the robot can start preparing the meal as soon as an order is placed at the checkout.
Are robots stealing our jobs?
In order to forestall the worries of his employees, White Castle boss Richardson immediately stressed that his employees do not have to worry about being replaced.
“Flippy will save us money on food costs because it creates less waste,” says the founder. “The other savings will have an impact on the ‘output’. If the speed of service can be maintained, and if it gets a little better here and there, more people will come, ”says the chain owner.
15,000 to 30,000 euros for a Flippy
Installing a miso robotics system in a kitchen costs a restaurant $ 30,000 upfront and an additional $ 15,000 per year. Jordan is already talking about reducing the total costs to as much as 15,000 US dollars.
Less human contact
Both Jordan and Richardson are convinced that robots have taken on a new meaning in the post-COVID-19 era. White Castle’s decision to use Flippy in the kitchen would enable human contact with food during the cooking process and reduce the potential for the transmission of food pathogens, the idea said.
Apart from that, Flippy should pay off, as those involved say. And call it “smart cooking”. With a robot like Flippy that has sensors, new possibilities can open up in the kitchen. This includes intelligent monitoring of the entire process and kitchen requirements, constant temperatures before and during cooking and the reduction of monotonous work such as repetitive, time-consuming and dangerous deep-frying, turning or frying.