An intelligent robot to assist fast food employees

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After the Flippy robot, designed to cook hamburgers, Miso Robotics presents its successor, Flippy 2. Driven by artificial intelligence and equipped with cameras, like its predecessor, this latest generation robot is also capable of frying food independently . For the CEO of the Californian robotics company, Flippy 2 is the ideal fast food employee.

He does it faster, more accurately, more reliably, and happier than most humans. said Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Roboticsin an interview with Reuters. According to the company’s website, Flippy 2 is said to be twice as fast as humans at food preparation tasks and churns out 30% more fried food. The device consists of a huge robotic arm guided by an overhead rail, capable of autonomously grabbing frozen ingredients from the freezer (fries, onions or others) and plunging them into boiling oil.

Once the cooking time has elapsed, he places the product on a tray. According to its designers, Flippy 2 can prepare several meals of different recipes at the same time, which reduces the need for human resources and speeds up the delivery of orders taken at counters and drive-thru terminals. ” When an order goes through the restaurant’s system, it automatically sends the instructions to Flippy “, explains Mike Bell. It was not designed to replace human labor, but to assist it — at least, that’s how the product is presented.

A more autonomous and smarter version

It took almost five years to develop this new version. Its predecessor, Flippy—dedicated to cooking burgers—lived up to expectations; however, it turned out that the bottleneck was more on the side of the frying station, especially during the night. Yet this is one of the most tedious tasks in fast food. Flippy 2 can thus relieve the employees of this task so that they can devote themselves to something else, such as welcoming customers and taking orders, or even presenting products. At the same time, it prevents employees from any risk of burns.

While the previous Flippy needed two humans, Flippy 2 is more autonomous and uses artificial intelligence to identify foods (like fries, onion rings or chicken breasts). It grabs the basket of food, frys it for the appropriate amount of time, and places it in a specific area to keep the product at the right temperature. Here is a video demonstration of its capabilities (credits: Miso Robotics):

In addition, its compact and modular design makes it adaptable to even the tightest kitchen spaces. The robot comes in two flavors, Flippy 2 and Flippy 2 Wings — the latter being specifically designed for restaurants serving fried chicken products. Interested restaurants must pay at least $3,000 per month to have this exceptional employee. The company has also developed a more basic version of its robot, the Flippy Lite. This one is designed to focus on a single product, requiring a solid or liquid seasoning, which it prepares with the utmost precision.

Note that Miso engineers can follow the actions of the Flippy 2 robots in real time on a large screen, which allows them to intervene quickly in the event of a problem. Assistance, included in the contract, is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Fast food in full transformation

A few fast-food chains already have Flippy 2 on staff, including Jack in the Box in San Diego, White Castle in the Midwest, and CaliBurger on the West Coast. Three other major American chains have also adopted it, but refuse to put it forward, explains Bell – robots are generally perceived as job stealers…

Miso Robotics is currently working on another intelligent robot, called Sippy, which will be dedicated to the beverage preparation station. Concretely, he will have to fill the cups – which involves adding the ideal amount of drink and ice cubes according to the size of the cup, to avoid overflows – put lids, insert straws, then group them in order of order.

The CookRight Coffee monitors all key parameters related to coffee preparation. © Miso Robotics

Miso’s newest robot is the CookRight Coffee, currently being tested at Panera Bread — an American bakery-type chain. This machine, also powered by AI, is designed to monitor key coffee parameters (volume, temperature and time data) and combine them with predictive analytics; in particular, these make it possible to know the type of coffee that customers like and when they like to drink it. Not only are employees freed from verification tasks, but are assured that there is always quality coffee for their customers.

The trend towards automation is also affecting the pizza sector: Pizza Station, developed by Picnic, can prepare up to 100 ready-to-bake pizzas per hour — based on the menu offered by the restaurant — and requires only one human employee. The machine guarantees product homogeneity and generates less than 2% food waste.

Many restaurants are currently struggling to recruit and the cost of labor continues to rise, which is why these autonomous robots are attracting growing interest among industry players. It could therefore be that one day fast food meals will be exclusively prepared by robots…

Source : Reuters

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An intelligent robot to assist fast food employees

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