Robot fry cook Flippy is getting a makeover. The burger-flipping robot developed by Miso Robotics is a robot arm equipped with both thermal and regular vision, which grills burgers to order while advising its human collaborators on when they need to add cheese or prep buns for serving. It can cook fries, too. Flippy has been around for a few years now, although Miso believes their new iteration arriving this year will make it a more helpful addition to kitchens.
The big change is how the robot is installed. Rather than being planted on the kitchen floor, an already cramped environment in many kitchens, Flippy now attaches under the hood above a fry station.
“Flippy ROAR, or Robot On A Rail, is the next step on Flippy’s work development,” Miso CEO and co-founder Buck Jordan told Digital Trends. “Think of it as a promotion for Flippy. The updates are more than aesthetics and are a direct result from feedback with current customers and major quick-service restaurant brands looking to adopt our technology. We talked to them constantly, and they came to us saying they need products that will lower their footprint and optimize the space in their kitchens — at a better price point.”
Jordan acknowledges that the first version of Flippy took up too much floor space. It could only work within one kitchen station at a time. Flippy ROAR changes that. Not only is the overall price lowered, but it can also more easily move between and operate several workstations. This versatility, and lower barrier to entry, is important at a time when companies like robot pizza maker Zume are seemingly struggling, having recently laid off many employees.
Jordan remains convinced that robot-led disruption needs to happen in the food services industry, however. “Back in 2016, we looked at the restaurant industry because it was an area where tech disruption hadn’t really entered,” he said. “It is an industry facing a lot of challenges, including up to 400% turnover rate according to leaders in the field, but also an increased demand for labor.”
Whether robots are really the next ubiquitous commercial kitchen essential remains to be seen. With robot delivery services such as Starship Technologies taking off, it seems to make sense from a customer perspective. Miso certainly believes in what it’s doing and companies such as Caliburger, which has a five-year deal with the firm, suggests others do, too. As does an upcoming equity crowdfunding round raise, which has already secured more than $1.3 million in reservations.
Should all go to plan, this latest redesign will only help make the company’s technology even more useful.
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