How robots could be coming to a commercial kitchen near you

Not many fast food chains have a great reputation for generous rates of pay or high levels of employee satisfaction. As a result, these chains often have problems with high staff turnover.

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One increasingly successful newcomer is Cali Group, named for the “California style” burger. The firm began in Shanghai in 2011, opening its first US branch only in 2015, but it now have outlets on both US coasts, the Far East, and many in Saudi and the Gulf. Unlike better known brands, it has its own robotics company – Miso Robotics.

Flippy the robot

This mechanical chef cooks and flips burgers and even places them on the bun. That would be no more revolutionary than a teasmaid, if Flippy didn’t possess artificial intelligence that learns by watching humans and adapts to them in busy kitchens. It is only the first of an expected succession of AI machines intended to replace human employees. A Miso spokeman has explained that the firm’s AI software enables its robot assistants to be fully trained to do almost any kitchen task, making them extremely adaptable.

Whilst smaller kitchens will see little cost benefit from hiring a Flippy, the picture is different for franchises that build many identical kitchens serving a limited repertoire of food, especially when training and monitoring unhappy employees has become a major overhead.

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Welcome automation

Other ways of automating a kitchen are less unpopular. Automating the least creative tasks, like grease disposal, is always welcome, freeing employees to spend time with customers or be creative with the menu.

The Klargester grease trap is designed for restaurants, pubs and canteens, and automatically separates fat and grease from waste water flows, preventing blocked drains and enabling catering businesses to comply with statutory regulations. Pubs and restaurants are legally obliged to fit grease traps.

Your staff can be more productive when they don’t have to worry about maintenance problems caused by grease accumulations. Traps can be located externally in some cases, but their proper location is temperature dependent, so take the advice of an experienced supplier, such as

Whilst there is often controversy and protest when automation eliminates human beings, when automation is wisely directed at freeing workers to be more human, it can only be a good thing.