California fast-food chain Jack in the Box will launch a pilot of Miso Robotics’ Flippy 2 and Sippy products in an effort to improve efficiency in the kitchen of its San Diego restaurant.
Flippy 2, which takes over the work for an entire fry station, increases kitchen throughput by 30%, or around 60 baskets per hour, and can perform more than twice as many food preparation tasks as its previous iteration, including basket filling, emptying and returning.
The robot, which has more than 120 configurations built into its technology and costs approximately $3,000 per month, utilizes an AutoBin system for lower volume and specialty foods like onion rings or chicken tenders. Each bin can hold as much as a full fry basket, be customized for a kitchen’s specific needs and be delineated for individual products like vegetables and fish to prevent cross-contamination.
Flippy 2’s AI vision can automatically identify food, pick it up, cook it in the correct fry basket and place the cooked food into a holding area without the need for human intervention, lowering the risk of potential oil dripping and burns caused by lifting and moving baskets.
By freeing up members of Jack in the Box’s team, Flippy 2 will help the restaurant produce and sell more food, cut down drive-through and counter lines and keep up with delivery orders. In addition, Flippy 2’s installation behind a plastic barrier shield creates a quieter atmosphere in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Sippy will help the company fulfill drink orders while reducing spills and waste from overfilling. A fully automatic conveyor efficiently moves cups along the Sippy unit, which accommodates a range of cup sizes and groups cups by order for easy delivery to customers.
“Jack in the Box stood out early as an early adopter, and frankly, they’re pushing the organization to be at the leading edge of technology adoption and solving a whole bunch of problems and improving back of house,” Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell told FOX Business. “They kind of put themselves toward the front of the line and said we want to be part of your product when its commercial ready, and it is.”
According to Bell, Miso is manufacturing dozens of robots, with plans to ramp up production to hundreds of robots per month by the end of 2022.
Though Miso has already secured parts needed to handle the anticipated uptick in volume next year, Bell noted the company has been informed of shipping delays lasting as long as 12 weeks for some supplies.
“We’re not relaxed about it, but also we think we solved most of the problems for next year, so we can hit the opportunity before us,” Bell said.
In addition to Jack in the Box, Miso has been testing Flippy 2 with White Castle, automated coffee brewing with Panera Bread and a tortilla chip-making robot with Chipotle Mexican Grill. Bell said that more brand partnerships are coming but declined to get into specifics. He emphasized that Miso is focused exclusively on the restaurant industry.
Miso Robotics, which is primarily funded by individual investors, has raised more than $50 million in crowdfunding to date from over 18,000 shareholders. Bell says that the company appears to be on track for an eventual initial public offering.
“There are no guarantees in these type of things and many companies aim for that. But we’re pretty well situated for that because we have already a very broad shareholder base,” Bell added. “I do believe that our intent at some point in the future is to have a public company.”
Bell also teased that plans for a global expansion to Asia and Europe are in the works, citing a strong demand for fried food and labor.
“It’s ambitious, but it’s really our mission to help restaurants,” Bell said. “I don’t think we can afford to stay myopic and say we’re going to just do within the borders of the United States. So we’re going to broaden our horizons in the near future.”