Meet Flippy, Sippy and Chippy: These robots can cook fries, pour drinks and make tortilla chips

Author: Yuvi September 21, 2022


Whether it’s creating perfectly cooked fries and burgers or pouring soda without any spills, robot chefs are venturing further into the $296 billion US fast food industry amid a nationwide labor shortage.

Miso Robotics, a California-based company, built a kitchen bot called Flippy that was able to cook 300 burgers per day and then expanded into whipping up fries with the second version.

The fast-casual chain Wing Zone in May inked a deal with Miso to install Flippy 2 into all future restaurant locations. Jack in the Box is deploying that same machine along with the company’s Sippy bot – which quickly pours, labels and seals beverage orders – this year with a goal of getting into 10 high-volume locations in 2023.

Whether it’s creating perfectly cooked fries and burgers or pouring soda without any spills, robot chefs are venturing further into the $296 billion US fast food industry amid a nationwide labor shortage

Miso Robotics, a California-based company, built a kitchen bot called Flippy that was able to cook 300 burgers per day and then expanded into whipping up fries with the second version

Miso Robotics, a California-based company, built a kitchen bot called Flippy that was able to cook 300 burgers per day and then expanded into whipping up fries with the second version

Jack in the Box is deploying that same machine this year with a goal of getting into about 10 high-volume locations in 2023

And Miso has another machine called Chippy that can cook up Chipotle’s tortilla chips – which will be integrated into a southern California location of the Mexican restaurant this year.

The robots – which have been in development for six years – use a combination of cameras, artificial intelligence and predictable, mechanized motions to perform repetitive tasks that service workers might find to be boring or worse. Flippy, Chippy and Sippy never need to take breaks and they don’t complain about working conditions.

However, restaurants that want Flippy 2 do have to pay $3,000 per month to rent kitchen bot and that’s in addition to the installation cost.

‘We realized for a robotic solution to be a real solution for our customers, it had to have a really high customer return on investment. Which meant it had to take a meaningful amount of labor off the table,’ Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell told the Washington Post.

Above: The company's Sippy bot, which quickly pours, labels and seals beverage orders, in action

Above: The company’s Sippy bot, which quickly pours, labels and seals beverage orders, in action

The National Restaurant Association reports that 65 percent of restaurant owners says that finding workers is their main problem

The National Restaurant Association reports that 65 percent of restaurant owners says that finding workers is their main problem

The National Restaurant Association reports that 65 percent of restaurant owners says that finding workers is their main problem.

Amid the pandemic’s aftermath and ongoing worker protests, the industry is dealing with demands for higher wages and more benefits, a push to unionize and still-recovering downtown locations that were decimated by Covid lockdowns.

Even without robots being deployed in a widespread way at America’s 200,000 fast food locations, many chains including McDonald’s, Burger King and Starbucks already have contactless kiosks or mobile payment options that bypass human interaction.

‘With over 100 new shops in our current development pipeline, our technology roadmap relies heavily on strategic partnerships with companies like Miso, a pioneer in the field of food automation,’ David Blooom, COO of Wing Zone, said in a statement.

At a Jack in the Box in Chula Vista, California, even with Flippy installed there were still about two dozen employees working at any given time. And there are moments when the machine malfunctions.

When the bot started ‘acting weird, jerking and hitching’ while it was placing a row of tacos into a special metal tray, a robot support specialist from Miso is available to help the Jack in the Box worker troubleshoot the issue.

‘This is an enhancement, not a replacement,’ Ali Nemat, Jack’s vice president of operations services, told the Washington Post. ‘Our fry person is getting promoted and Flippy is their assistant.’

'This is an enhancement, not a replacement,' Ali Nemat, Jack's vice president of operations services, told the Washington Post.  'Our fry person is getting promoted and Flippy is their assistant'

‘This is an enhancement, not a replacement,’ Ali Nemat, Jack’s vice president of operations services, told the Washington Post. ‘Our fry person is getting promoted and Flippy is their assistant’

21 September, 2022, 4:47 pm

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