A major US fast food chain has shared details of the gains it hopes to make from introducing an AI-driven robotic assistant to its kitchens after becoming one of the first in the world to commercially test it.
White Castle, which operates more than 350 restaurants, signed a deal to introduce the futuristic technology to its business in the same week that Miso Robotics – which makes the robot – launched a campaign to crowdfund £24m in a bid to target UK operators.
UK fast food operators aware of the autonomous grilling and frying technology will no doubt be curious to know how an established chain such as White Castle sees it fitting into its kitchen operations.
The company said that the deployment of Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR) – the newest version of the technology – will put autonomous frying to work for enhanced production speeds, improved labour allocation and an added layer of health and safety in the cooking process.
Its decision to pilot Flippy in the kitchen creates an avenue for reduced human contact with food during the cooking process – reducing potential for transmission of food pathogens.
The implementation also brings intelligence to cooking, tapping into sensors, intelligent monitoring and anticipated kitchen needs to keep food temperatures consistent, that ensure optimal quality and a perfect bite for customers.
With Flippy in the kitchen automating repetitive, time consuming and dangerous tasks like frying, team members can be redeployed to more customer-experience driven tasks, it said.
“White Castle is an industry innovator, and we take a great amount of pride in our history – never forgetting about the future ahead,” said Lisa Ingram, CEO of White Castle.
“With 100 years of quick service success, the time has never been more perfect to envision what the next century of White Castle and the restaurant industry looks like. Miso Robotics understood where we could improve and stay true to White Castle’s brand of taste, innovation and best-in-class dining.”
White Castle plans to deploy Flippy in the autumn and will monitor speeds in production, taste, quality and operational optimisation with backend POS integration.
Following integration, it will be tested to improve employee and food preparation, for wider location integration.