Sunday, October 31, 2021

Flippy a robot that can fry chicken wings and burgers

 

Flippy robot

 Restaurants cope with a labor shortage by employing robots to fry chicken wings and burgers and deliver them to tables.

The robots, which cost between $3,000 and $20,000 per month, are already being tested at several restaurant chains, but there are two obstacles to overcome.

The Flippy robot meets a new challenge at Inspire Brands' Innovation Center in Atlanta. Miso Robotics' robot worker first came as a solution for preparing hamburgers. It now fries chicken wings for the first time.

The Flippy 1 and 2 robots have been under development for nearly five years, with pilot tests at companies including CaliBurger and White Castle. To enhance output and speed, Inspire's Buffalo Wild Wings chain is testing the wing-prep variant. It is hoped that it will be used more widely in 2022 and in the future.

"At Inspire, our automation strategy and goal is about increasing our capacity, not about labor shortages," said Stephanie Sentell, vice president of operations and innovation.

"With the automation we're looking at, we'll be able to unlock that and bring food to our visitors faster," he said.

Staffing shortages, on the other hand, are unavoidable. According to the National Restaurant Association, four out of every five establishments are understaffed. There are 81 percent of full-service operators and 75 percent of limited-service operators in this group.

Robotics can assist in reducing labor costs and streamlining operations.

For the fry station, there is a solution, Miso claims that its Flippy 2 can assist with a difficult task in the kitchen: fryer operation.

"It's one of those difficult professions," Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell remarked. "It's monotonous, dangerous at times, and fairly repetitious. As a result, it was the ideal time for automation robotics to step in and assist firms like Buffalo Wild Wings "Added he.

The robot might cost up to $3,000 per month in rental fees. In the coming months, Miso plans to participate in a dozen trial programs with big restaurant chains.

Richtech's maitre d' can serve and wait tables while Flippy works in the rear. The $20,000 robot has been put to the test in restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen.

Richtech COO Phil Zheng told NBC that the business has partnered with huge chains to undertake weekly trials in this challenging environment. "Our robot helps servers to serve many more tables, and consumers to get their meals faster," Zheng said.

"Because waiters would have more time to connect with customers, restaurants will be able to raise their earnings. They will be able to sell more drinks, special offers, and other items, as well as generate revenue "Added he.

As labor shortages are projected to remain in the coming years, the company also has a cleaning robot for hotels and sees prospects in airports and even nursing homes.

Robotics are also used outside of food firms' internal processes. Companies like Phantom and Virtual Kitchen are also considering using robots to deliver food to customers.

Kitchen United began a five-day pilot test this week to move restaurant orders from its offices in the Westfield Valley Fair retail mall in the Bay Area to homes within a half-mile radius, using the Kiwibot. Cartken in Miami offers a similar program with Reef Virtual Kitchens.

Domino's and Chipotle are cooperating with Nuro, which is backed by Softbank. Last spring, Domino's began a trial experiment in Houston with Nuro's self-driving car. In March, Chipotle announced that as part of their funding round in late 2020, it would invest in Nuro.

Challenges in robotics

While automation can help alleviate labor issues, it confronts two challenges, according to a recent EMSI paper titled The Demographic Drought.

Elon Musk has revealed a humanoid robot that will relieve us of "dangerous, repetitive, or boring" tasks.

The first is that robots will never be able to completely replace humans. The second point is that the current labor crisis will persist, and workers will be required to construct robots and other automated technological solutions.

"Companies attempting to invest in AI (artificial intelligence) development are already experiencing labor and skill shortages. Market share research of robotic automation has revealed that the industries that have already invested the most in it (automotive, electronics, and metal) continue to drive the market, but collaborative robots do not match the market insertion standards "According to the report,

The sector as a whole, according to Ron Hetrick, labor economist at EMSI and one of the paper's authors, is not yet capable of incorporating robotics at a major level, but future restaurant business models will continue to evolve as long as labor constraints exist.

"It will undoubtedly reduce the number of restaurants where you can sit," Hetrick said.

Software developers are always in great demand, according to Miso's Bell, but the company confronts "typical hurdles" in terms of worker availability. A more urgent problem is the current supply chain crisis.

"We don't have any supply shortages at the moment, and we don't expect any in the next six months. However, there are other issues that must be addressed in the long run. Hopefully, in the coming months, this global supply chain will right itself out "he stated 

Article by Gerluxe Image: misorobotics

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