Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.

 

The adoption of robotics and automation has grown across many industries, and food service is starting to embrace it. The interest and evolution began with challenges regarding labor costs and high turnover. Every investment starts with a strong problem—that’s the thought of Buck Jordan, CEO of Miso Robotics, a long-time technology innovator and investor.

In developing robotics to work in a quick-serve restaurant environment, Jordan and his team worked with CaliBurgers, getting advice from actual users. They started with the grill, introducing Flippy. The first try at the spatula didn’t impress the restaurant owner. “We got constant input from the food operator, so innovation was faster,” Jordan added.

The first Flippy mechanism could work the grill and fryers but was on a cart in the aisleway. That wasn’t going to work for mobility, so they move it to a rail system.

Miso partnered with White Castle, which began deploying Flippy in July 2020, months after the pandemic. Restaurants were facing new challenges, disrupting the entire foodservice ecosystem.

Flippy became an important tool. It could handle most of the back of house cooking while employees moved to the front line. Jordan also explained its integration with food delivery apps.

“It knows when delivery drivers are going to arrive and can calculate when to finish the meal so that it’s ready when the driver arrives,” he said.

What’s next for Flippy and the future of kitchens? The company is working on more automation software for its platform as well as getting costs down. Jordan said, “Automation is a necessity now for restaurants to keep the doors open. In the next 10 years, technology will evolve. Kitchens could become completely autonomous,” he said.

And anyone can be part of the Flippy revolution because the company uses crowdfunding for financing, just one more way the company is an innovator in the space.

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