So much for all the hullabaloo over making $15 an hour flipping burgers, because now a burger-flipping robot named Flippy is cooking up hamburgers at a fast food restaurant called Caliburger.
A robot named Flippy is now in the kitchen at a fast food restaurant called Caliburger in Pasadena, California. It’s guaranteed to never go on strike, ask for vacation, a pay raise or express any other whining grievance.
Before you know it, your next fast food burger might be cooked by a robot, not some whiner demanding $15 an hour.
Flippy is a brand new, burger flipping robot now cooking at a chain called Caliburger, which serves up California style burgers and fries.
“The key to success in the restaurant industry is consistency. So anytime you go to a Caliburger anywhere you know that the patty will be cooked exactly the same,” said John Miller, CEO of Cali Group, the company that runs the chain.
The robot was developed by a subsidiary called Miso Robotics.
So how does it work? Before Flippy can get started, it needs a little human help. A co-worker puts raw patties on the grill.
“The kitchen of the future will always have people in it, but we see that kitchen as having people and robots,” said David Zito, co-founder and chief executive officer of Miso Robotics.
Flippy uses thermal imaging, 3D and camera vision to sense when to flip – and when to remove.
“It detects the temperature of the patty, the size of the patty and the temperature of the grill surface,” explained Zito.
The device also learns through artificial intelligence – basically, the more burgers that Flippy flips, the smarter it gets. Right now, cheese and toppings are added by a co-worker.
In addition to consistency and safety, Caliburger says the robot can cut down on costs.
“It’s not a fun job – it’s hot, it’s greasy, it’s dirty,” said Miller about the grill cook position.
Less turnover means less time training new grill cooks.
“This technology is not about replacing jobs – we see Flippy as that third hand,” said Zito.
The initial appeal of the system is pretty clear for a restaurant like Caliburger, which will no doubt drum up some publicity for its early adoption of robotic kitchen equipment. But along with the other investors that have helped Miso raise a total of $14 million in disclosed funding, there’s hope for long-term benefits in an industry where turnover is a big obstacle in keeping a kitchen up and running, reports Tech Crunch.
“Flippy is novel, but definitely not a novelty,” Zito told TechCrunch ahead of the announcement. “As it improves its speed and skillset over time such as frying, chopping and grilling menu items and adding seasoning or cheese to patties, CaliBurger will see an increase in productivity. In addition, we’ve modeled our pricing based off expected value each robotic kitchen assistant can provide at scale.”
Flippy’s entry level price tag is $60,000 — considerably higher than your average burger chef makes in a year. There’s also a 20-percent recurring annual fee for the robot’s leaning and maintenance, but Caliburger is confident in its return on investment through decreased wait times, consistency and decreased food waste.
Sports and entertainment venue company Levy also announced plans to deploy the robot following last month’s participation in the startup’s $10 million Series B. The company will bring its own Flippy robot in an unnamed venue before the end of the year.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 5th, 2018