Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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HomeMiscellaneousChipotle trials robotic tortilla chip maker Chippy in California restaurant

Chipotle trials robotic tortilla chip maker Chippy in California restaurant

Chipotle's innovation facility in Irvine, California, has previously tested Chippy's ability to prepare and season its tortilla chips.

In April, we shared the news of Chipotle testing a robot named Chippy that makes tortilla chips, at Chipotle’s Cultivate Center, an innovation hub in Irvine, California. Now, Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it will test Chippy next month in a restaurant in Fountain Valley, California.

Companies and restaurants are testing robotics and automation to speed up operations and free up staff from mundane jobs. Currently, Chipotle employees need to cook and season the chips, which takes time.

Chipotle is using its “stage-gate approach,” as it does with the rest of its new technology and menu items, to test and learn from staff and consumers before deciding how to roll out the technology nationwide. The restaurant chain revealed on Tuesday that the robot would make its debut at a location in Fountain Valley, Orange County.

Image Source: Miso Robotics

Chippy can prepare a serving of tortilla chips in 50 seconds; it may take a human two minutes to do the work. A team member puts chips into a hopper, and an automated arm dispenses 8 or 9 ounces of them into a frying basket. After cooking them, Chippy transfers them to a bowl, adds salt and freshly squeezed lime juice, and then pours the mixture into a pan for bagging.

Chipotle is not the first food chain to venture into robotics and automation to address manual labor woes. Starbucks has incorporated new technologies for more quickly brewing drip coffee, serving food, and creating cold coffee beverages. In other locations, Panera Bread, McDonald’s, White Castle, and Buffalo Wild Wings are all experimenting with automated drive-thru ordering to shorten wait times.

Besides Chippy, Chipotle is testing a cook-to-needs kitchen management system in some of its establishments in Southern California. This system offers demand-based cooking and ingredient preparation estimates to maximize throughput and freshness while reducing food waste. By leveraging machine learning, the system automatically populates real-time production planning for each restaurant while monitoring ingredient levels in real-time and notifying the crew of how much prep work has to be done before cooking can begin.

Read More: Uber Eats and Nuro Team Up for robot food delivery in California and Texas

Chipotle’s new PRECITASTE-powered kitchen management system is being trialed at eight locations in Orange County, California. According to Chipotle, preliminary findings show that the pilot is successfully optimizing kitchen operations for staff members while assuring a steady supply of fresh ingredients for customers.

Chippy was created by Miso Robotics, a California-based firm that previously created Flippy, a kitchen bot that could prepare 300 burgers each day before expanding to prepare fries with a later iteration, Flippy Lite. Compared to human workers, Flippy and Chippy never need to take breaks or complain about their working circumstances. Other products offered by Miso Robotics are Sippy, an automated beverage dispenser, and CookRight, a coffee monitoring system that Panera Bread is testing.

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Preetipadma K
Preetipadma K
Preeti is an Artificial Intelligence aficionado and a geek at heart. When she is not busy reading about the latest tech stories, she will be binge-watching Netflix or F1 races!

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