Robot invasion

Hyperactive Bob brings artificial intelligence to the drive-thru. Brandi Clanton’s two Zaxby’s franchises in Georgia have extra kitchen help.

It’s not a new chef or a dishwasher, but HyperActive Bob, a system of cameras, touch-screen monitors, computers and software designed to improve food freshness and reduce waste. “It takes the guesswork away from your employees,” says Clanton. “Your cook doesn’t have to look out and see that you’ve got 20 people in line. The concept of HyperActive Bob is that you’re cooking smaller quantities more often.”

“Quick service restaurants have tried to study history to determine what to cook today and to anticipate demand,” says Joe Porfeli, CEO of Bob-maker HyperActive Technologies. “Bob does it better.”

It takes Bob up to a month to build up its knowledge of a restaurant in order to predict cooking amounts and adjust for busy periods. But it never stops learning.

Cameras attached to the building monitor for cars in the parking lot and drive-thru. Touch-screen displays in the kitchen area tell the cooks how much food to make and when.

It costs about $5,000 for the hardware and installation. A $3,000 annual fee covers software, upgrades and maintenance.

Bob has been installed in over 100 restaurants, and the company is aiming for 1,000 installations by the end of the year.


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