A burger-flipping robot named “Flippy” is now serving up burgers at a California fast food restaurant, replacing the human worker manning the burger grill.
“Flippy” made its debut in CaliBurger’s Pasadena, California, location Monday as the burger’s grill cook on the line, KTLA reported.
“The key to success in the restaurant industry is consistency. So anytime you go to a CaliBurger anywhere you know that the patty will be cooked exactly the same,” said John Miller, CEO of Cali Group, the parent company of the burger chain.
Flippy works its magic using 3D imaging, thermal technology, and camera vision that tells the machine when to flip the patty and remove it from the grill. Before the robot starts grilling, a human co-worker places the raw burger patties on the grill. Then, Flippy assesses the patties on the grill before starting the cooking process.
“It detects the temperature of the patty, the size of the patty and the temperature of the grill surface,” said David Zito, co-founder and chief executive officer of Miso Robotics.
Although Flippy’s human counterpart currently adds the cheese and toppings to burgers, the robot has the ability to “learn” through artificial intelligence—meaning that the more burgers the robot flips, the more it would be able to do.
CaliBurger, a chain known for serving burgers and fries California-style, installed Flippy as a way to cut down on costs while increasing safety and consistency in quality. It also intended to cut down on time training new line cooks.
“The kitchen of the future will always have people in it, but we see that kitchen as having people and robots,” said Zito.
Although the restaurant has replaced human the burger-flipper, Zito insisted that the new technology would not replace jobs in the restaurant.
“This technology is not about replacing jobs – we see Flippy as that third hand,” said Zito.
Miso Robotics said the robot costs about $60,000.
The partnership between Miso Robotics and CaliBurger to introduce Flippy in the burger chain’s restaurants has been years in the making, although the restaurant is expanding the use of the robot at its other locations shortly.