Robot replacement begins in fast food industry: Burger flipping robot set to replace humans next year in 50 California restaurants

In the world we live today, technology is so advanced that robots continuously do some jobs for us. More and more companies start to replace humans with robots to do the job, which then results to unemployment. And now, robots will soon take over the fast food industry.

According to a Daily Mail article, an artificial intelligence-based robot named “Flippy” is set to replace human workers in 50 locations of a California-based restaurant chain CaliBurger in 2018.

“We are excited about the impact Miso’s AI-based solutions will have for the restaurant industry,” David Zito, Miso’s chief executive officer (CEO), told CBS as quoted in The Daily Mail article. “Flippy cooks the perfect burger — every time,” according to the company.

The machine was designed with a six-axis robotic arm with a claw-like tool that opens at the end to flip burgers and place them on buns once cooked. The robot works in tandem with a kitchen staff and functions as an assistant. It will alert the human worker when it is time to add the cheese and other burger toppings. Furthermore, it has cameras and sensors and its software lets it distinguish between different meats on the grill.

Zito also said that the robot will likely push workers out of their current jobs. “Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business…We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.” (Related: Robotics revolution to replace most human workers in three generations; labor class to be systematically eliminated)

Zito said they started with a grill cook assistant because the position is among the hardest to hire. “Flippy is the first in our series of adaptive robots that will create smarter, safer, and more efficient commercial kitchens,” Zito said.

CaliBurger, the restaurant that makes California-style burgers, already started testing the machine earlier this year.

Originally, Flippy was set to be hired in the 50 CaliBurger branches for 2019. But a large infusion of capital made it possible to set it earlier.

Miso Robotics received in July a $3.1 million budget from strategic investors, such as Acacia Research and Match Robotics VC, to fine-tune specific features of the soon-to-be worker robot.

“While the biggest companies in the world are focused on using our computer vision and artificial intelligence to drive cars and manage the home, Cali Group will facilitate and lead the adoption of these emerging technologies in the restaurant and retail industries,” said John Miller, chairman and CEO of Cali Group, during the funding announcement. Cali Group co-founded and funded Miso Robotics.

Robots assisting employees in CaliBurger restaurants would allow the company to make food faster, safer, and with fewer errors.

“Our investment in Miso Robotics is part of our broader vision for creating a unified operating system that will control all aspects of a restaurant from in-store interactive gaming entertainment to automated ordering and cooking processes, ‘intelligent’ food delivery, and real-time detection of operating errors and pathogens,” Miller said.

Miso Robotics shared that Flippy can be installed in less than five minutes. There is also a digital system that accompanies the robot that sends order from the counter back to the robot.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry is the second largest private-sector employer in the United States and by 2027 is projected to add 1.6 million jobs. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 10 percent employment growth from 2014 to 2024 in the industry.

Will these kinds of inventions affect the predictions as companies continue to hire robots instead of humans?

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