White Castle has plans to usher robots into the kitchen.
The burger chain announced a partnership with the artificial intelligence firm Miso Robotics on Tuesday. Under the collaboration, White Castle will deploy Flippy, a hamburger flipping robot, later this year.
The idea is to reduce human contact with food during the cooking process and comes after many restaurants were crippled due to the pandemic, White Castle said in a statement.
“The deployment will put autonomous frying to work for enhanced production speeds, improved labor allocation and an added layer of health and safety in the cooking process,” the burger chain said.
The restaurant didn’t address how many workers could be displaced by robots. Though it did say that “team members can be redeployed to more customer-experience driven tasks.”
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White Castle has 365 restaurants nationwide and is well-known for its sliders, which you can buy frozen from supermarkets like Target and Walmart. Founded in 1921, it’s also one of the oldest fast-food chains in the U.S.
Miso Robotics claims to have created the “world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant that can learn from its surroundings and acquire new skills over time.”
Flippy might look familiar.
In 2018, the robotic arm turned over chicken tenders and tater tots at Dodger Stadium as well as flipped burgers at Caliburger in Los Angeles. The robot was pulled from Caliburger temporarily after launching because it was too slow.
White Castle will get an updated version of the robotic arm, the company said. USA TODAY reached out to the company to find out what makes White Castle’s model different.
Miso Robotics has previously said that the robot can automatically detect the temperatures across the fryer, monitor the cooking process and display the cooking time on a screen.
White Castle expects to deploy at least one robot this fall. If successful, the brand will expand its use of Flippy.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.
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