Intelligent automation specialist Miso Robotics has unveiled the newest model of its flagship robotic cook Flippy, named Flippy 2.
Based on key learnings and feedback from innovation partner White Castle, which deployed the original Flippy to a location in the Chicagoland area in September 2020 and plans to expand to additional locations once the pilot is over, Flippy 2 is designed to take over the work for an entire fry station and should perform more than twice as many food preparation tasks compared to the previous version, including basket filling, emptying and returning.
Flippy 2 looks to alleviate food preparation pain points for quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and create a better working environment for its human coworkers, while also maximising the efficiency of the kitchen.
Over the course of Flippy’s deployment at White Castle, the fast-food hamburger chain has reportedly been impressed with the productivity gains Flippy has brought to daily operations. While the system helped team members stay in their designated locations, with employees noting during the pilot that there was a need for human assistance on both sides of the robot – from the initial point of contact with the uncooked product to when the cooked food gets placed in the holding area – requiring one or two employees at several steps. As basket management wasn’t automated, the cooking process wasn’t as seamless as it could be, therefore the next generation is designed to improve this.
Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle, said: “We learned so much from Flippy and our partnership with Miso Robotics. It’s amazing to see the future of how we provide even better service and even more hot and tasty food to our craving customers happening right before us in real time.”
Flippy 2 has been developed to make the fry station, even at peak times, less than a full-time task and allow team members to focus on other important duties. It features the new AutoBin system for lower volume and specialty foods like onion rings or chicken tenders. Each bin can hold as much as a full fry basket, be customised for a kitchen’s specific needs and be delineated for individual products like vegetables and fish to prevent cross-contamination.
Once the product is placed in the bin, AI vision automatically identifies the food, picks it up, cooks it in the correct fry basket and places it into a hot-holding area. Eliminating the transfer task lessens overall human-to-food contact, decreases potential oil dripping and burns caused by lifting and moving baskets, and ensures an entirely closed-loop system where Flippy 2 can operate on its own without human intervention in the middle of the process. This should make the system faster, increasing throughput by 30% – or around 60 baskets per hour – which is usually more than what is needed in high-volume QSRs.
Flippy 2 also features a new, sleeker design that takes up less space within the kitchen – including a 56% reduced aisle intrusion, 13% height reduction and fewer overall cleanable surfaces.
Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics, said: “Like all technologies, Flippy 2 has evolved significantly from its predecessor, and we are extremely grateful for the insights collected from White Castle to truly push its development forward in a real restaurant environment.
“Flippy 2 takes up less space in the kitchen and increases production exponentially with its new basket filling, emptying and returning capabilities. Since Flippy’s inception, our goal has always been to provide a customizable solution that can function harmoniously with any kitchen and without disruption. Flippy 2 has more than 120 configurations built into its technology and is the only robotic fry station currently being produced at scale.”
In addition to White Castle, Miso Robotics has several other pilot agreements with major operators in place, including its recently announced partnership with Inspire Brands. Flippy 2 consolidates key tasks in the back-of-house to make QSRs more efficient and addresses a $278.6bn market where it can be customised to cook whatever a brand needs, including anything that can be fried.