Flippy the burger-flipping robot was put on furlough late last week, just one day after its first official shift at CaliBurger.
Cali Group, the parent company of both Flippy and CaliBurger, said the shutdown isn’t the robot’s fault. Humans are to blame, Cali Group officials told USA Today.
The quick-service burger restaurant simply didn’t have enough employees to make patties for Flippy to flip. Nor were there enough workers to top all those burgers, especially with high consumer interest in the robot that’s reported to be able to grill 2,000 burgers a day.
Flippy’s robotic arms remain on display at the Pasadena, Calif., unit.
CaliBurger is currently training store managers how to work more efficiently with the robot. That means protocols for prepping patties, seasoning them and readying them for Flippy.
"Mostly it's the timing," Anthony Lomelino, Cali Group’s chief technology officer, told USA Today. "When you're in the back, working with people, you talk to each other. With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule. Choreographing the movements of what you do, when and how you do it."
CaliBurger representatives have not responded to a request for comment on how long Flippy will be out of commission.
Last month, the restaurant’s parent company secured $10 million in funding to fuel research and development on Flippy and other robotic foodservice innovations.