Wings and Rings has enlisted a robot to cook wings in one of its restaurants.
The 85-unit sit-down wing chain is partnering with Miso Robotics to test Flippy 2 at a location in Crestview Hills, Ky. It sees the bot as a way to ease labor challenges and boost efficiency in the kitchen.
The test is off to a good start, said Wings and Rings COO Bob Bafundo, and the chain has already added more menu items to the robot’s responsibilities.
“Flippy is consistent, dependable and cooks our food even quicker than before without sacrificing the flavor-forward taste we're known for,” Bafundo said in a statement.
As Flippy takes on more work in the kitchen, staff will be freed up to wait tables and take orders, the chain said. If the test goes well, Wings and Rings said it could install more Flippys.
Robots have been making inroads in restaurants recently as operators face staffing shortages and rising costs. Cincinnati-based Wings and Rings is the latest to sign up for Flippy, an AI-powered robotic arm that can handle all parts of the frying process. White Castle, Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wing Zone and Dubai-based Americana Restaurants are all using the robot. Wings and Rings said it’s the first wing concept to use the latest model, Flippy 2, in an actual restaurant rather than a test kitchen.
Flippy is part of an increased emphasis on technology at Wings and Rings that includes a new POS system, mobile app and tech-forward prototype. In January, the chain announced it would allow new franchisees to pay their fee in bitcoin.
"Adding another tremendous brand to our customer base is huge, but when that brand shares in our vision for quality and sees robotics as a gamechanger for their overall business and the betterment of their employees, it's even sweeter," said Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics, in a statement. "Wings and Rings has been committed to us since Day 1 and we can't wait to work with them for many years to come."
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