Miso Robotics has unveiled Flippy 2, a customizable AI system that consolidates key tasks in the back-of-house of quick service restaurants (QSRs) to increase efficiency and profitability.
The Pasadena, California-based technology company’s new model is based on key learnings and feedback from the White Castle restaurant chain, which deployed the original Flippy at a Chicago area outlet in September of 2020 and plans to expand its use at additional locations upon conclusion of the pilot project. Flippy 2 takes over the work for an entire fry station and performs more than twice as many food preparation tasks compared to the Flippy 1 prototype, including basket filling, emptying and returning.
Back-of-house positions at quick service restaurants have historically been labor intensive, physically demanding and potentially hazardous given the proximity to hot oil and grills in compact kitchens. Flippy 2 is designed to alleviate address these issues and create a better working environment for humans, while also maximizing the efficiency of the kitchen.
Over the course of the system’s deployment at White Castle, the fast food hamburger chain’s management has been impressed and pleased with productivity gains it has brought to daily operations. While Flippy helped workers stay in their designated locations, it was noted during test runs that there was a need for human assistance on both sides of the robot – from the initial point of contact with frozen uncooked product such as french fries, onion rings and chicken nuggets, to the point when the cooked food gets placed in the holding area – requiring one or two humans at several steps. Basket management wasn’t automated so the cooking process was not as seamless as it could be – until now.
Flippy 2 – which makes the fry station, even at peak times, less than a full-time task and allows workers to focus on other duties – features the brand new AutoBin™ system for lower volume and specialty foods like onion rings or chicken tenders, providing restaurants an even more capable and complete frying solution. 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.
Once product is placed in the bin, AI vision automatically identifies the food, picks it up, cooks it in the correct fry basket and places it into a hot-holding area. Eliminating the transfer task lessens overall human-to-food contact, decreases potential oil dripping and burns caused by lifting and moving baskets, and ensures an entirely closed-loop system where
Flippy 2 can operate on its own without human intervention in the middle of the process. This makes the system faster, increasing throughput by 30% – or around 60 baskets per hour – which is more than what is needed in high-volume QSRs.
Flippy 2 also features a sleeker design that takes up less space within the kitchen – including a 56% reduced aisle intrusion, 13% height reduction and less overall cleanable surfaces.
“Like all technologies, Flippy 2 has evolved significantly from its predecessor, and we are extremely grateful for the insights collected from White Castle to truly push its development forward in a real restaurant environment,” said Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell. “It now takes up less space in the kitchen and increases production exponentially with its new basket filling, emptying and returning capabilities.”
He added: “Since Flippy’s inception, our goal has always been to provide a customizable solution that can function harmoniously with any kitchen and without disruption. With more than 120 configurations, it is the only robotic fry station currently being produced at scale.”
In addition to White Castle, Miso Robotics has several other pilot agreements in place with leading national QSR operators in the United States, including Inspire Brands, the holding company, owner and franchisor of the Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, Mister Donut, Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins restaurant chains.