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Flippy, AI take center stage in White Castle’s next kitchen evolution

ROAR version of kitchen robot, AI headed to century-old burger chain

Flippy is on a rail, and on a roll as it ROARs (Robot-on-a-Rail) into the future of White Castle kitchens. The updated version of the frying-and-grilling robot finds itself in a testing-and-integration stage at the QSR burger chain. Columbus, Ohio-based White Castle plans to reallocate labor and power efficiency through the use of AI and robotics, as it also seeks to improve “labor allocation,” according to an announcement.

Moreover, executives assert the robot will enhance safety in White Castle restaurants. One way that Flippy, known largely for its burger-frying skills, does this is through a reduction in human contact with food, thus minimizing the possible “transmission of food pathogens.” Amid an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, safety and sanitation are foremost on consumers’ minds, say experts.

Advanced technology, including sensors, intelligence monitoring and predictive analytics in food demand make it more likely the food quality will be impacted in a positive way. Specializing in sliders, White Castle plans to deploy back-of-house team members into more customer-facing roles with the expectation of improving customer service.

“With 100 years of quick service success, the time has never been more perfect to envision what the next century of White Castle and the restaurant industry looks like,” said Lisa Ingram, chief executive of White Castle. “Miso Robotics understood where we could improve and stay true to White Castle’s brand of taste, innovation and best-in-class dining.”

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After debuting at Caliburger two years ago, the foodservice robot has increased its presence around the country and ROAR is its next stage of growth. Miso Robotics expects the zero-footprint technology to be fully-deployed this fall at White Castle after testing and POS integration.

The company has contracts, including at Dodger Stadium where Flippy has manned the grill and fryers at Chicken n’ Tots stand as part of an agreement with Levy restaurants. It also landed at Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and several additional CaliBurger restaurants in the United States.

“Artificial intelligence and robotics brings a very real opportunity to continuously enhance the cooking process and optimize taste for restaurants,” said Buck Jordan, co-founder and chief executive of Miso Robotics.

White Castle will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021.

Photo credit: Miso Robotics (featured preview image)

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