California recently welcomed the world’s first fully autonomous, artificial intelligence-powered restaurant that serves burgers and French fries.
CaliExpress by Flippy, a first-of-its-kind restaurant located in Pasadena, opened its doors in December thanks to a partnership between Cali Group, a retail technology holding company, Miso Robotics, the investors of the AI-powered frying station Flippy, and PopID, a technology company that enables patrons to make biometric payments.
“Eat the future,” CaliExpress by Flippy stated on its website. “Robot-made burgers & fries.”
Guests can enjoy “wagyu burgers for the price of traditional burgers,” according to the restaurant.
“Uniquely, the grill robot grinds the high quality beef in real-time after the order is placed, resulting in a burger patty that melts in the mouth. Flippy, the famous robotic fry station, cooks up crispy, hot fries made from top grade potatoes — always to exact times. Our simple menu has burgers, cheeseburgers, and french fries,” the website explains.
Flippy is a kitchen robot equipped with sensors and cameras that allow it to consistently and quickly fry food, including fries, tater tots, onion rings, chicken nuggets, tacos, egg rolls, and chicken patties.
Patrons looking to partake in the AI dining experience at CaliExpress by Flippy must make reservations ahead of time, according to Miso Robotics. When customers enter the restaurant, they can select their meal from a self-ordering kiosk that provides order recommendations and fast payment options. Patrons can then watch the fully automated kitchen grill the burgers and fry the French fries.
A press release from the robotics company noted that the technology “will create a safer, easier, and friendlier kitchen” for employees working at the restaurant.
“At the fry station, Flippy represents revolutionary breakthroughs in safety as slippage and burns can be nearly eliminated, as well as in waste reduction in both food and oil. The CaliExpress by Flippy kitchen can be run by a much smaller crew, in a less stressful environment, than competing restaurants — while also providing above average wages,” Miso Robotics stated.
According to PopID CEO and Miso Robotic board member John Miller, CaliExpress by Flippy is the world’s first restaurant where the ordering and cooking process is entirely operated by robotics.
“The marriage of these various technologies to create the most autonomous restaurant in the world is the culmination of years of research, development, and investment in a family of revolutionary companies,” Miller said.
Restaurant-goers will also enjoy a small museum experience that features retired iterations of Flippy units and previous developments.
Miso Robotics CEO Rich Hull stated, “AI-powered, robotic order-taking and cooking enables the major chains that feed America to substantially improve quality, consistency and speed.”
Despite only being open for a short period of time, CaliExpress by Flippy is already facing a wave of negative reviews from critics, most of whom admit to not having actually visited the establishment but state that they are concerned the revolutionary technology will negatively impact fast food workers. Those who claimed they had eaten at the restaurant mainly provided positive feedback about the food’s quality, but many bashed the company for requesting tips on its payment kiosk for the fully automated dining experience.
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