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Chipotle's Chippy robot is starting to make tortilla chips at a California location —here are all the other robots taking over fast food

FLIPPY
Miso Robotics
  • More fast food chains than ever are testing robots and AI to cut costs.

  • Advanced technology can decrease the number of workers needed for food preparation and service.

  • Robots are being used to take orders, prepare food, and even deliver it to customers.

Some fast food and fast casual chains are integrating robots into their prep lines.

mcdonalds fries
A worker in a Chicago,Illinois McDonalds restaurant prepares a large order of the firm's famous french fries.Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis/Getty Images

Rising labor costs and inflation are making hiring and retaining workers more expensive, so robots are a way to cut costs. Some are still in the works, while others are already serving food.

chipotle worker
Bloomberg/Inside Chipotle documentary

Chipotle just announced that Chippy, an AI kitchen assistant that will help make its tortilla chips, will move to a restaurant kitchen in California in October.

Chippy robot Chipotle
Chipotle

Source: Insider

Chipotle specifically programmed Chippy to have some inconsistency in results on purpose to mimic the technique of the humans who currently produce the chain's chips.

Chippy robot Chipotle
Chipotle

White Castle has a robot cook, Flippy, from Miso Robotics.

02 Close up of Flippy
Flippy.Miso Robotics

Source: Insider

The original model could place baskets in the fryer, shake baskets in oil, and monitor for appropriate cooking time to make chicken tenders and tater tots.

06 Food hopper dispensing perfect amount of food for preparation
Flippy.Miso Robotics

Flippy works by moving back and forth in the kitchen while attached to an overhead rail.

Flippy White Castle robot
The entire Flippy system.Miso Robotics

Flippy can take over some of the more dangerous kitchen tasks, like deep frying, behind a safety shield to protect staff from hot oil.

Flippy White Castle
Flippy handles several fryers at once.Miso Robotics

Flippy manages the fryer station, allowing back-of-house fast-food workers to focus on other tasks.

Team Member Next to Flippy ROAR at the Fryer_3
Flippy.Miso Robotics

Flippy uses AI to identify the food in the bin, pick it up, distribute it in the fryer, and move into the holding area after cooking.

Flippy fryers
Flippy's fryers.Miso Robotics

Miso also released Flippy Wings, which makes chicken wings using the same process.

Flippy White Castle robot
Flippy transferring wings.Miso Robotics

Buffalo Wild Wings has also tested Flippy Wings.

Flippy Wings Buffalo Wild Wings
Flippy WingsMiso Robotics

Miso's most recent robot is CookRight Coffee, being tested at Panera right now.

CookRight Coffee Panera
Miso Robotics

The system uses artificial intelligence to monitor coffee volume and temperature, so workers don't manually have to check those levels.

CookRight Coffee Panera
Miso Robotics

The AI technology allows Panera employees to brew a new pot of coffee at precisely the right time.

CookRight Coffee Panera
Miso Robotics

"We are thrilled that Panera shares in our vision to revamp the coffee monitoring process, and can't wait for CookRight Coffee to be installed at their restaurants to help customers and team members alike," Miso CEO Mike Bell said in a statement.

CookRight Coffee Panera
Miso Robotics

Robots are coming to the pizza side of the industry, too. Food tech company Picnic is selling a robot that can make up to 100 pizzas per hour.

Picnic pizza robot
Picnic

Source: Picnic

So far, Picnic has been deployed at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and Texas A&M University, and businesses can subscribe to the technology for around $2500 per month as of 2022.

Picnic pizza robot
Picnic

Jamba worked with smoothie-making robot Blendid to create a robotic smoothie kiosk.

Blendid and Jamba smoothie robot
Blendid and Jamba's new robot smoothie maker kiosk.Blendid

Source: Insider

Blendid makes smoothies using a robotic arm, blenders, and ingredient dispensers.

Blendid and Jamba smoothie robot
Blendid and Jamba's new robot smoothie maker kiosk.Blendid

The system does all the tasks a human worker would typically do, from measuring out the correct ingredients to processing payments.

Blendid and Jamba smoothie robot
A person picking up a Blendid and Jamba smoothie.Blendid

When they're not in the kitchen, robots are also giving fast-food chains another way to reach customers through delivery.

Nuro R1
Nuro

Last year, Domino's announced a test with Nuro's autonomous, self-driving robots to deliver pizzas in Houston.

Nuro x Domino's Image 2
Domino's/Nuro.

Source: Insider

Chipotle also invested in Nuro in 2021, though it did not disclose the exact amount.

Nuro driving on public road
Nuro on a public road.Nuro

Source: Insider

Around the same time, Chick-fil-A began testing robot deliveries in California via Kiwibot.

Kiwibot
The newest Kiwibot.Kiwibot

Source: Insider

Customers at three California locations had the option to select Kiwibot at checkout for short deliveries.

Kiwibot Berkeley
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Restaurants are an $800 billion industry with high turnover compared to other areas of the workforce, so there's potential for continued growth in automation, from delivery to frying foods and taking orders.

Domino's
Sunday Alamba / AP Images

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider