White Castle will begin testing out an automated robot cook at a restaurant in the Chicago area.
“Flippy,” built by Miso Robotics, is an automated, robotic fry cook and burger flipper. Versions of Flippy have already been employed at Dodger Stadium and at CaliBurger restaurants and can perform tasks like burger-flipping, chicken, onion, and french frying.
“I think automation is here to stay and this is the first example of a really large credible player starting down that journey,” said Miso Robotics chief executive Buck Jordan.
The first robot will be online in September and will integrate with the point of sale system so Flippy can begin food preparation as soon as the order is taken at the register.
White Castle’s vice president of shareholder relations, Jamie Richardson says employees don’t need to worry about automation replacing their jobs just yet.
“It’s going to save us money in food costs because there will be less waste,” said Richardson. “The other savings will be in terms of output… that’s going to be helpful.. If you maintain speed of service that’s getting a little bit better and a little better you do see more visits… that’s where we see it having the biggest impact… we’re not looking at this as a way to reduce people power.”