It’s a good bet that the only mechanical engineers on this Power 20 list are Knight, Farid, Rogers and Schlueter. But it’s also a decent bet that, in 20 years, they’ll have done as much if not more than anybody on the ranking to have revolutionized the foodservice industry. Or at least they’ll have tried.
The idea behind Spyce, a single-unit Boston concept serving bowls from a robotic kitchen, was to deliver on a promise to do something the industry has long struggled to do: automate the back of house to make it feasible to provide high-quality meals at a low cost.
The MIT grads knew enough to defer to an expert, iconic chef Daniel Boulud, for help with the menu development. But their designs enable back-of-house efficiencies at a time when labor is at a premium. The robotic system portions food, prepares it in a tumbling wok and pours it into a bowl, where it’s finished with cold ingredients and presented to a customer in three minutes.
Spyce has attracted $21 million in investment already. If it works, it could revolutionize the restaurant kitchen—as well as jobs in the restaurant.