How many times have you heard ‘if you don’t do well in school, you’re going to end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s?‘ Well, this threat may become obsolete. With the robot revolution on the horizon, artificial intelligence is taking over jobs such as phone operators, assembly-line workers, cashiers, bank tellers, travel agents — and fast-food workers might be next. CaliBurger in Pasadena, California, now “employs” a robot called Flippy. Created by Miso robotics for the restaurant, Flippy started work in 2018 and flips burgers alongside its human co-workers during the busy lunch rush.
Meet Flippy, the Burger-Flipping Robot at CaliBurger
Miso Robotics brags that Flippy can cook each burger “perfectly and consistently”. It uses thermal, 3D, and normal cameras to monitor the food, all under human supervision. Additionally, Flippy helps improve the kitchen’s hygiene. It switches spatulas, using one for raw meat and one for cooked meat. Plus, it can clean the spatulas as it works as well as the grill.
“Flippy is novel, but definitely not a novelty,” said Miso co-found and CEO Dave Zito. “As it improves its speed and skillset over time such as frying, chopping and grilling menu items and adding seasoning or cheese to patties, CaliBurger will see an increase in productivity. In addition, we’ve modeled our pricing based off expected value each robotic kitchen assistant can provide at scale.” 
Flippy’s entry-level price is $60,000, much higher than the average yearly earnings of a burger cook. Flippy also includes a 20% recurring annual fee for maintenance. Caliburger has spoken of employing the robot in all of their chains but for now, it’s only featured at the restaurant in Pasadena for the lunch shift with plans to feature it in Seattle. Plus, Flippy could now cook more than burgers, including popcorn shrimp, corn dogs, chicken wings, fries, and onion rings. Though the company stated in 2018 that they plan to introduce flippy at 50 of their locations in the near future .
Read: You will get chipped — eventually
Updating the Fast Food Industry
However, after Flippy’s first day on the job, it had to be taken offline and upgraded. Perhaps due to the increase in customers eager to see the robot in action, Flippy couldn’t keep up with all of the orders. So Miso Robotics worked to ensure the robot could keep up during the lunch rush. Previously, they claimed that Flippy could cook up to two thousand burgers per day. During this time, the staff received extra training to most efficiently cook around the robot to help it work as fast as possible. 
“The deployment of Flippy enables CaliBurger to retrain our staff to spend more time tending to customer needs to better improve the guest experience, while supervising the robotic system that’s handling the cooking,” said Jeffrey Kalt, CEO of CaliBurger. “This results in happier workers, more satisfied customers, and a more profitable business.” 
The new CaliBurger restaurant in Seattle will also feature PopID’s system for face-recognition-based ordering and paying.
“The PopID platform allows our staff to focus on tasks other than taking orders and processing payments,” sait Kalt. “It also increases average ticket size, improves throughput, and lowers payment processing fees, resulting in increased free cash flow.”