SEATTLE — Would you trust a robot to cook your burger? A restaurant chain in Seattle hopes you will.
CaliBurger has locations in Westlake and the University District and is now opening a new location in Shoreline with a twist to staffing.
After years of development, the autonomous robot "Flippy" will be grilling burgers and more at CaliBurger's Shoreline location. The robot will also be able to cook French fries and chicken breasts using image recognition technology to ensure real-time quality control.
Miso Robotics developed the technology over the course of nearly four years and a quarter million man hours of engineering. This is the first time the Seattle area has seen a fully autonomous robotic system, which is designed to increase speed, efficiency and quality while minimizing employee risk.
Skeptics might assume the robotic system means job losses for employees but the company insisted that's not the case.
"The deployment of Flippy enables CaliBurger to retrain our staff, to spend more time tending to customer needs to better improve the guest experience," said Jeffery Kalt, CEO of CaliBurger.
Hasan Zeer operates the three Seattle-area locations and said he has the same amount of employees at each location and thinks Flippy takes stress off of the staff so they can prioritize customer service.
"I even have kids who come in to watch Flippy and say they want to be robotics engineers, so this is very exciting for the customers," said Zeer.
In addition to the tech handling the fry station — CaliBurger will now also feature PopID’s latest face-based ordering and payment system. The technology can recognize returning customers and makes ordering and payment fast and easy.
CaliBurger's new tech-friendly location in Shoreline is planning for a soft opening and then the official grand opening on Nov. 3.