PASADENA, Calif. - If you're worried about human contact and how many people are touching your food when it's being prepared — fear not! Miso Robotics has created "Flippy," the world's first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant.
"We're bringing robots out of the factory and into the kitchen to do some of the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks that most humans don't want to do," said Miso Robotics Founder, Buck Jordan. "It makes fewer mistakes, does it faster, better, perfect every time."
Jordan said that the idea that the robot would be taking over human jobs is largely a misconception.
"Pre-COVID, we were missing about a million people from the quick-serve restaurant workforce going to about 4 million people, so there were just no people doing these jobs," Jordan explained. "But post-COVID, this whole industry is facing a whole set of new challenges, really fundamental challenges. We have to social distance in kitchens — which have never been designed for social distancing. We have a massive explosion in deliveries and we also have consumer preferences to 'low-touch' establishments — so these are all challenges that really need to be solved through automation."
The idea is that with the robot, kitchen sizes can be smaller since social distancing won't be a factor. That way, dining rooms can be expanded to allow for six feet between tables.
Jordan said that by taking people away from cooking the burgers and fries, they are able to help with customer service, cleaning and the increase in deliveries restaurants are facing due to the pandemic.
"We need to maintain the same production in the kitchen with less people in it — which is almost impossible without automation. At the same time, we need more people at the front of house dealing with delivery, pickup and drive-thru and also, a massive increase in cleaning regiment," he said.
The start-up company in Pasadena is still looking for investors. Starting about mid-2021, for a business to invest in their own "Flippy," it would cost about $2,000 a month, or roughly $24,000 annually.
FOX 11's Bob DeCastro contributed to this report.