Restaurants prep for long-term labor crunch by turning to robots to man the fryer, shuttle food to tables

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  • Restaurants and ghost kitchen companies are testing out different robotic and automated technology solutions to speed up service and solve for ongoing labor challenges.
  • Companies like Miso Robotics and Richtech are developing automated bots for both restaurant kitchens and dining rooms.
  • Economists say that the labor challenge will be prolonged and robotics can help to ease the crunch, but can’t fully replace humans.

At Inspire Brand’s Innovation Center in Atlanta, the Flippy robot is taking on a new challenge. The automated worker, made by Miso Robotics, first came onto the scene as a burger solution. Now, it’s frying wings for the first time.

The bots, known as Flippy 1 and 2, have been in development for nearly five years, taking on pilots at brands like CaliBurger and White Castle. The wings iteration is being tested at Inspire’s Buffalo Wild Wings brand as a way to ramp up production and speed. The hope is to scale up its usage in 2022 and beyond.

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“Our strategy and our vision for automation at Inspire is really not about the labor shortage, it is all about how we increase our capacity,” said Stephanie Sentell, SVP of restaurant operations and innovation at Inspire. “The automation that we are looking at will allow us to unlock that and provide faster food to our guests.”

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