Chipotle Mexican Grill is finally putting its first tortilla-making robot to work at a restaurant in California this October
(Los Angeles, California) - Chipotle Mexican Grill is stepping into the future of fast food this month with their newest venture: a robot tortilla chip maker.
The fast-casual restaurant chain has partnered with Miso Robotics, a company that specializes in developing robots for restaurants and food production, to create "Chippy," a tortilla robot that can replicate Chipotle's famous tortilla chip recipe.
According to Chipotle, the machine uses ingredients like corn masa flour, water, and sunflower oil to cook the chips to "imperfect" perfection. It also tops them with lime juice and a dusting of salt before serving them.
Nevielle Panthaky, Chipotle’s vice president of culinary, said in a press release:
“Everyone loves finding a chip with a little more salt or an extra hint of lime. To ensure we didn’t lose the humanity behind our culinary experience, we trained Chippy extensively to ensure the output mirrored our current product, delivering some subtle variations in flavor that our guests expect.”
The company plans to use it in October at one of its restaurants in Fountain Valley, California.
Chipotle is testing the future of fast food, and it's all about a robot tortilla maker
The Chippy was developed at Chipotle's innovation hub in Irvine, California.
According to the company, Chippy will allow its employees to spend more time relaxing and enjoying their work.
It's also hoped that the robot will free them from the repetitive tasks that come with preparing and making tortilla chips.
Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief technology officer told The Drum when Chippy was in testing:
"Investing in technology to enhance our restaurant processes is a win-win as we know that when we help make any aspect of our teams' jobs easier, they have more time to spend serving and supporting our guests, as well as on other tasks."
As fast food companies like Chipotle look to improve operations with robotics, they're also looking for ways to reduce the number of employees needed in the back of the restaurant, according to CNBC.
As retailers and restaurants struggle with the rising minimum wage and the lack of qualified workers, they are testing automation and robotic systems.
The cost of maintaining a single Chippy will be around $3,000 a month, which is significantly more than the average amount of money that most fast food workers typically take home.
Are robot chefs making fast food faster?
Currently, workers at most Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants have to prepare and season the tortilla chips manually.
Although Chippy has been in development for a few years, the deployment of Chippy comes as fast food restaurants in California continue to grapple with staff shortages and minimum wage rises.
Like other innovations in the company's menu, the Chippy is being tested while learning from customers and workers in California to determine how it can be rolled out across the country.
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*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. This article got written using accredited media reports.