Flippy 2 is Miso Robotics’ answer to fast food hiring challenges: it is an automated kitchen assistant that can take over an entire fry station with only one human operator.
Delivering french fries that are not too crispy or soggy is harder than you might think. Just ask the burger chain, White Castle, in New York.
Timing is the key when it comes to perfect french fries. They need to be in oil for the right amount of time. However, employees in fast-food restaurants are often subject to a flurry of distractions in the kitchen, which is hot and noisy and gets even more hectic during peak times.
They may get caught up in another task and pull fries out of the fryer too early, or leave them in too long. It can be difficult to remain consistent day in and day out.
That is where Flippy comes in. Last year, White Castle installed the french-fry making robot, made by the company Miso Robotics, in one of its kitchens in a Chicago-area restaurant. The chain recently replaced the original with Flippy 2. It is a smaller version of the robot that performs more human functions. White Castle has plans to roll it out to up to 10 of its 360 total restaurants.
It is unclear how much this technology might catch on at restaurants and beyond — and how much it could upend restaurant jobs if it does.
A little about Flippy 2
Much like a new iteration of an iPhone, Flippy 2 is smaller and more efficient than version 1.0. The first Flippy needed people to put frozen fries into a basket that the robot could then grab, explained Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics.
After that, Flippy — which looks like a huge robotic arm — would dunk the basket into a vat of oil for the correct amount of time, which is pre-programmed, lift it up and leave it for a human employee to empty out.
Flippy 2 can fill the empty fry basket itself by placing it under a dispenser that drops the right amount of fries for a small, medium, or large order into the basket. After it’s done cooking, Flippy 2 can dump that basket of cooked fries onto a tray.
Flippy is still very much in a testing phase at White Castle.
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