White Castle is bringing kitchen robots to 100 additional restaurants.
The 350-unit burger chain is doubling down on Miso Robotics' Flippy machines after more than a year of tests yielded better operations and staff productivity. It could be the largest adoption of such technology by a U.S. restaurant chain.
“Our partnership with Miso continues to lead the way on what’s next for back-of-house restaurant operations looking to empower team members with technology to better satisfy customers,” said White Castle COO Jeff Carper in a statement.
Flippy is a robotic arm mounted on a rail and powered by AI software. White Castle will be using the second-generation model known as Flippy 2 to work the fry station. The bot will fill fry baskets, cook the food and dump it off to be packaged and handed to the customer by human workers.
The system takes some less-desirable work off of employees' plates and allows them to focus on other things, particularly helping customers, White Castle said. It also improves food consistency.
The rollout will happen region by region over the coming months and years.
White Castle became the first big restaurant chain to embrace Miso's robot when it began testing it in a single restaurant in September 2020. The pilot was not without its bumps, but Miso used feedback from White Castle to develop Flippy 2, which handles more tasks than its predecessor, including filling the fryer baskets itself. White Castle installed Flippy at 10 more restaurants in November.
The latest expansion comes as restaurants are looking to automate more tasks. They are hoping robots can help ease challenges in hiring and retaining human workers as well as keep costs down amid skyrocketing inflation.
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