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Jack in the Box will test robots to make fries, pour drinks

The chain is partnering with Miso Robotics to use Flippy and Sippy at one restaurant with the possibility for more.
Flippy and Jack in the Box food
Flippy will be responsible for frying a variety of Jack in the Box items including chicken and fries. / Photograph courtesy of Miso Robotics

Flippy the robotic fry cook has a new gig at Jack in the Box.

The fast-food burger chain said Tuesday that it would test Flippy at one location in San Diego, with the possibility to expand the partnership in the coming months.

It will also test Flippy’s beverage-dispensing sister, Sippy. Both bots are made by Miso Robotics.

Jack in the Box joins a growing list of brands to use Miso’s technology, including White Castle, Chipotle and Panera Bread. It’s part of a wave of restaurants that are using automation to combat staffing challenges and rising costs.

It was those very dynamics that caused Jack in the Box to try putting robots in the kitchen, it said in a press release. It hopes the technology will improve unit economics and ease operations in the back of house.

“This collaboration with Miso Robotics is a stepping stone for our back-of-house restaurant operations,” said Jack in the Box COO Tony Darden in a statement. “We are confident that this technology will be a good fit to support our growing business needs with intentions of having a positive impact on our operations while promoting safety and comfort to our team members.”

SippySippy automatically pours and seals beverages. / Photograph courtesy of Miso Robotics

Flippy will be responsible for frying a wide range of Jack in the Box items, including chicken, curly fries and tacos. The AI-powered robotic arm handles almost every step of the process, from grabbing the food to dispensing it. Sippy, meanwhile, will be in charge of pouring and sealing drinks. It fields beverage orders directly from the POS system.

The human workers that formerly staffed those stations will now have more time to help customers, the companies said.

“From tacos and curly fries to fountain sodas, the future is now for Jack in the Box, and we are ecstatic to serve as the company’s technological arm to assure a quality product gets into its customers hands every time they order,” said Miso CEO Mike Bell in a statement.

Pasadena, Calif.-based Miso has been making significant inroads in restaurants this year, with tests now underway at Chipotle and Panera Bread. White Castle was the first major chain to try its technology in September 2020, and has since aired plans to put Flippy in 100 more restaurants after the bot helped improve operations and productivity.

 For Jack in the Box, Flippy is another sign of change at the 2,241-unit chain that this year acquired Del Taco and announced plans to return to significant unit growth in the near future.

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