The fast food industry has long had a labor problem. It can hard to find restaurant workers, particularly for fast-food chains where the jobs can be long, hot, and greasy. Add in food safety preparation issues for handling the COVID-19 pandemic and the problem grows. One of the more thankless jobs is probably working the fryer. It’s boring, repetitive, and carries a high risk of burns from hot oils.
White Castle, with 365 restaurants in the U.S., is piloting a new solution at a store in Chicago. Coming to the rescue is Flippy, the robot-on-a-rail (ROAR), that will soon be working the fry station. Flippy has a long, articulated arm that glides along an overhead rail to work the fry station, including filling the basket, timing the oil, and removing the fries without burning anyone. Safer food prep can help employees focus more on the customer, and less on production.
Flippy is a product of Miso Robotics in Pasadena, Calif., and is billed as the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant that can learn from its surroundings. It can work a grill or fryer, cooks perfectly and consistently every time, collaborates with kitchen staff, and is OSHA safety-compliant. The robotic arm isn’t cheap though. Flippy costs between $60,000 – $100,000.
Hungry for fries?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students: Who was worked at a fast-food restaurant? What was the experience like for them?
- Show video of Flippy at White Castle: https://youtu.be/5vjf13h2f6o
- View videos and more information at Miso Robotics: https://youtu.be/5vjf13h2f6o
- Discuss the buying process for organizations. Who would influence the decision-making?
- For Flippy the robot food-preparation product, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
- Problem recognition?
- Information search?
- Evaluative criteria?
- Purchase decision?
- Post-purchase behavior?
- What are key considerations in each step?
- Debrief the exercise.
Source: AdWeek; Forbes; Tech Crunch; other news sources