Buffalo Wild Wings is testing a robot that cooks wings.
The sports bar chain is using the latest version of automated fry-cook Flippy, dubbed "Wingy," at parent Inspire Brands' Innovation Center in Atlanta. Wingy will later be installed in an Inspire ghost kitchen before making its way into an actual Buffalo Wild Wings next year, the companies said.
More restaurants have been turning to automation recently amid a historic staffing crunch. Miso Robotics, the maker of Flippy, said the robot makes kitchen operations more efficient and frees up staff to interact more with guests.
"From day one, Flippy Wings will cook more food with less waste and save staff for higher value contributions," Miso CEO Mike Bell said in a statement.
The bot can fry fresh, frozen or hand-breaded wings and can be set up over existing equipment. Workers place uncooked food in a bin, where Wingy will identify it, cook it and place it in a hot holding area. In tests, Wingy increased food production speeds by 10% to 20%, Miso said.
Inspire installed the bot this fall at its Innovation Center, where it tests new designs and equipment in replicas of its kitchens. White Castle has also been testing Flippy in one restaurant for about a year and plans to add the robot in 10 more locations. And Miso said it has more restaurants signed up to test Wingy.
In addition to Buffalo Wild Wings, Atlanta-based Inspire Brands owns Arby's, Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin', Jimmy John's, Rusty Taco and Sonic Drive-In, which together account for more than 32,000 locations worldwide.
"Technology is making a fundamental impact on the end-to-end restaurant operational model," said Inspire CEO Paul Brown in a statement. "This transformation will ultimately result in improved efficiencies in our restaurants and an overall elevated experience for our guests and our team members."
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