CaliExpress, set to open in Pasadena, California, claims to be the “world’s first operating restaurant” where both ordering and the entire cooking process are fully automated using robots and artificial intelligence. Developed by Miso Robotics, the restaurant features robots named ‘BurgerBot’ and ‘Flippy’ as the chefs responsible for preparing customers’ orders. Flippy, a smart commercial kitchen robot, is capable of frying items like french fries and chicken nuggets while working alongside human staff to improve quality and consistency.
Customers can place their orders using PopID stations, allowing them to create a profile with a stored image, loyalty details, and payment information, enabling face-based order processing. The incorporation of high-tech elements extends to the menu as well, with burger options featuring Wagyu beef.
“Flippy is a ground-breaking, smart commercial kitchen robot that fries items from french fries to chicken nuggets, and works alongside humans to enhance quality and consistency, while creating substantial, measurable cost savings for restaurants,” Miso Robotics’ website states.
Miso Robotics argues that the use of robots in fast-food establishments will enhance worker safety by eliminating exposure to the hazards associated with fryers and hot oil. Additionally, the automation will reduce labor costs, making it economically feasible for the restaurant to offer higher-quality products like Wagyu beef. The CEO of PopID and board member of Miso Robotics highlights the collaboration of various technologies in creating what they claim to be the most autonomous restaurant globally, representing years of research and development.
Despite concerns about the potential risks associated with advanced robotics, the Vice President of Product Development at Miso Robotics, Alana Abbitt, reassures the public that the robots at CaliExpress are designed to be friendly and helpful, distinguishing them from the menacing depictions seen in science fiction. Abbitt emphasizes the comparison to everyday items like Roombas, indicating the intention to integrate these robots seamlessly into daily life.
While the restaurant was initially scheduled to open in the reported month, a spokesperson confirmed that CaliExpress will be opening soon. Although the restaurant emphasizes automation, there will still be human staff present to assist with tasks such as packing food and providing a friendly face to customers, ensuring a balance between automation and human interaction in the futuristic dining experience.