fast food cheese burger and fries

Flippy the Burger Cooking Robot is Now Working at CaliBurger — With 50 More on the Way

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.

Caliburger's Flippy, the burger robot at work
Caliburger’s Flippy, the burger robot. Image Credit: Tech Crunch

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.

Advertisement

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.[1]

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 [2].

Read: You will get chipped — eventually

Advertisement

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. [3]

Advertisement

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.[4]

The new CaliBurger restaurant in Seattle will also feature PopID’s system for face-recognition-based ordering and paying.

Advertisement

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.” 

Read: Do you prefer self-serve checkouts?

Trending Now

A woman with terminal cancer says taking 'magic' mushrooms eased her d...
A woman with terminal cancer says taking 'magic' mushrooms eased her d...
3-Year-Old Conjoined Twins With Fused Brains Separated in Historic Vir...
3-Year-Old Conjoined Twins With Fused Brains Separated in Historic Vir...
Why the Government Controls the Color of Our Food
Why the Government Controls the Color of Our Food
Her death remained a mystery for 46 years. Now, DNA evidence from a co...
Her death remained a mystery for 46 years. Now, DNA evidence from a co...
Scientific experiment creates ‘two dimensional’ time
Scientific experiment creates ‘two dimensional’ time
Electric Vehicle Nightmare: Girl Learns Car Needs New Battery, Then Fa...
Electric Vehicle Nightmare: Girl Learns Car Needs New Battery, Then Fa...
Lawyer explains why you should avoid using self-checkouts in stores
Lawyer explains why you should avoid using self-checkouts in stores
Scientists Discover Plastic-Eating Worms That Digest Styrofoam
Scientists Discover Plastic-Eating Worms That Digest Styrofoam
Bill Gates Says he Fully Intends to Lose his Rich List Spot While Stil...
Bill Gates Says he Fully Intends to Lose his Rich List Spot While Stil...
Nigerians are building earthquake-proof homes from plastic bottles and...
Nigerians are building earthquake-proof homes from plastic bottles and...
Turned Off: The Biggest Reason People aren’t Buying Electric Cars
Turned Off: The Biggest Reason People aren’t Buying Electric Cars
Scientists Successfully Sequence the DNA of Man From the Pompeii Erupt...
Scientists Successfully Sequence the DNA of Man From the Pompeii Erupt...
Advertisement

Robots in the Kitchen

Miso Robotics has expanded to include Flippy 2, which is engineered to fry foods. Plus, fast-food hamburger chain White Castle plans to install Flippy 2 in 100 of their locations. [5] Miso has also designed Sippy, an automatic drinks dispenser, and CookRight, an AI-powered grill with a vision and sensor system. Soon, CaliBurger won’t be the only chain with a robot fry cook.

Advertisement

By taking over the work of an entire fry station, Flippy 2 alleviates the pain points that come with back-of-house roles at quick-service restaurants to create a working environment for its human coworkers that maximizes the efficiency of the kitchen,” said a statement from Miso Robotics. “The improved workflow allows for the redeployment of team members to focus on creating memorable moments for customers.[6]

It remains to be seen if robots will indeed take over the restaurant industry, which has been facing a labor crisis. There are record-low unemployment rates with an increased turnover rate, which has always been high for low-paying jobs in the fast-food field. Meanwhile, the demand for prepared food is as high as ever. For companies struggling to fill the kitchen, robots may seem like the perfect solution, but it’s uncertain if it’s a practical one. Perhaps if AI doesn’t work out, a simpler approach would make the jobs more appealing for human applicants. [7]

Advertisement

Keep Reading: McDonald’s Replaces Some Drive-Thru Workers With AI

Advertisement

Sources

Advertisement
  1. “Flippy, the robot hamburger chef, goes to work.” Tech Crunch. Brian Heater. March 5, 2018
  2. Burger-making robot ‘Flippy’ that cooks the perfect patty every time begins its full-time job at a California fast food chain” Daily Mail. March 5, 2018.
  3. “Burger-flipping robot taken offline after one day.” BBC. March 9, 2018
  4. “Shoreline WA CaliBurger Restaurant to Feature Latest from Miso Robotics and PopID.Business Wire. Mark Firmani. October 18, 2021
  5. “Flippy 2.Miso Robotics.
  6. “White Castle to hire 100 robots to flip burgers.Today. Samantha Kubota. February 18, 2022
  7. “The new burger chef makes $3 an hour and never goes home. (It’s a robot).Los Angeles Times. Sam Dean. February 27, 2020
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
Advertisement