(Lora Kolodny, TechCrunch) – Flipping burgers is a hot and greasy job. Slips, trips, burns and cuts are common hazards associated with the work. But global demand for burgers is tremendous. Top burger chains racked up more than $75.5 billion in annual sales in 2016. To help keep human cooks out of harm’s way while fulfilling our collective appetite for burgers, Pasadena-based Miso Robotics is rolling out a new “robotic kitchen assistant” called Flippy.
Miso Robotics CEO and co-founder David Zito said, “We focus on using AI and automation to solve the high pain points in restaurants and food prep. That’s the dull, dirty and dangerous work around the grill, the fryer, and other prep work like chopping onions. The idea is to help restaurants improve food quality and safety without requiring a major kitchen redesign.”
Miso Robotics was funded in part by the quick service restaurant, CaliBurger, which makes and sells “California-style burgers,” and operates in 12 countries today. Canyon Creek Capital and individual angel investors have also contributed funding to help Miso Robotics get started.
All of Miso Robotics employees went to work in CaliBurger kitchens as grill cooks before and while working on the original design of Flippy. Getting behind the grill and cooking with and without Flippy is a regular part of Zito’s job, the CEO said. Now, CaliBurger has committed to using Flippy in 50 of its restaurants, at least, over the next two years. It has already been testing Flippy in a Pasadena restaurant, the companies said.