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Restaurants are now employing robots – should chefs be worried?

Alia Talaat

From burger-flipping robots to android waiters, automated systems that can cook and serve are no longer the preserve of sci-fi

Like most chefs, Flippy is not afraid of hard graft. Since last summer that has meant 11am until 7pm shifts at Caliburger in Pasadena, California, as well as stints at Chick-N-Tots at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. These are long hours of repetitive work, where the boss demands absolute consistency. But you won’t hear Flippy complain.

Or say anything, in fact. For Flippy is a robot – a cloud-connected mechanical arm with 3D thermal scanners for eyes – that can flip burgers or fry 80 baskets of food an hour, monitor that food and even clean up afterwards.

Flippy was created by Miso Robotics and part-funded by the Cali Group, which is described by its CEO, John Miller, as: “A technology company that happens to sell cheeseburgers.” Cali creates new machines that it road-tests in its Caliburger restaurants across the world, into which Flippy will be deployed this year. And Flippy is not alone. Also in California, Bear Robotics has developed a self-guiding robot, Penny, which has so far served 40,000 diners.

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