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Hamburger-flipping Robot Starts Working in California

A robot has been hired to work as a burger-flipper in a California restaurant.

California-based Miso Robotics first hit the headlines last year, after unveiling its virtuoso robot-chef Flippy; now, the automaton has been recruited by global fast-food chain Caliburger, and it started working alongside the human crew in a restaurant in Pasadena.

Caliburger has reportedly struck a deal for 50 AI-powered burger-flipping robots to be rolled out in several of its eateries worldwide over the next few months.

While recruiting a robot definitely carries some publicity stunt value for Caliburger, Flippy is not only a funny gadget. The robot has so far earned Miso over £10 million ($14 million) in investment, and some industry leaders hope that the company’s robotic cook could allow businesses to keep running their kitchen 24 hours a day.

While the robot’s price hovers around £44,000 ($60,000), plus a 20-percent annual maintenance fee, Caliburger seems positive that over time Flippy’s efficiency will help it recoup the investment.

“Flippy is novel, but definitely not a novelty,” Miso Robotics CEO David Zito told TechCrunch in an interview. “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.”

Caliburger’s launch will be followed by another deployment later this year, in a yet-undisclosed venue owned by sports and entertainment company Levy— also an investor in Miso Robotics.

While Flippy’s debut is good news for restaurant chains and robot-lovers, it could end up spell doom for millions of human burger-flippers worldwide. The industry is at one time one of the ripest for automation and one of the largest job-generators in the world.

In the US only, as of 2018, 3.8 million people were employed in a fast-food chain. Who knows whether they are worried about Flippy’s irresistible rise.

Image via Miso Robotics 


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