PASADENA, CALIF. – Innovation is ongoing at Miso Robotics. The startup that designs and builds automated solutions for the foodservice industry announced upgrades to its flagship product, Flippy, and recently launched a new product line called Flippy Wings.
Miso Robotics bills Flippy 2, as a next-generation product that is faster and more customizable than the original Flippy robotic arm designed to cook the perfect burger every time. The latest enhancements are the product of lessons learned during the company’s pilot program with White Castle, which deployed the original Flippy to a location in the Chicago area in September 2020. The focus turned from the flat-top to the fry stations.
“While Flippy helped team members stay in their designated locations, employees noted during the pilot that there was a need for human assistance on both sides of the robot – from the initial point of contact with the uncooked product to when the cooked food gets placed in the holding area – requiring one or two employees at several steps,” the company said. “Basket management wasn’t automated so the cooking process wasn’t as seamless as it could be – until now.”
Enter the AutoBin system for lower volume and specialty foods like onion rings or chicken tenders. Using artificial intelligence, the system identifies the food, picks it up, cooks it in the correct fry basket and places the food in the correct holding area.
“Eliminating the transfer task lessens overall human-to-food contact, decreases potential oil dripping and burns caused by lifting and moving baskets, and ensures an entirely closed-loop system where Flippy 2 can operate on its own without human intervention in the middle of the process,” according to the company. “This makes the system faster, increasing throughput by 30% – or around 60 baskets per hour – which is more than what is needed in high-volume QSRs.”
In addition to more functionality, Flippy 2 has a smaller footprint that takes up less space in the kitchen. Miso Robotics said the new, sleeker design includes a 56% reduced aisle intrusion, 13% height reduction and less cleanable surfaces.
“Like all technologies, Flippy 2 has evolved significantly from its predecessor, and we are extremely grateful for the insights collected from White Castle to truly push its development forward in a real restaurant environment,” said Mike Bell, chief executive officer of Miso Robotics. “Flippy 2 takes up less space in the kitchen and increases production exponentially with its new basket filling, emptying and returning capabilities.
“Since Flippy’s inception, our goal has always been to provide a customizable solution that can function harmoniously with any kitchen and without disruption,” Bell said. “Flippy 2 has more than 120 configurations built into its technology and is the only robotic fry station currently being produced at scale.”
The company also launched Flippy Wings, a robotic chicken wing frying solution designed for high-volume restaurants. Buffalo Wild Wings, a unit of Inspire Brands, began testing Flippy Wings at the Inspire Brands Innovation Center this fall.
Flippy Wings includes the AutoBin system, which enables kitchen staff to cook more while spending far less time attending to the deep fryer, according to Miso.
“The frying area is also made safer as Flippy Wings eliminates several hot touchpoints and drastically decreases oil spillage,” the company said. “Also, Miso’s tests show a 10-20% overall increase in food production speeds when deploying the machine.”
The first Flippy Wings unit is currently installed at the Inspire Brands Innovation Center in Atlanta, Ga. A second Flippy Wings unit will be installed at Inspire’s Alliance Kitchen to test it in a real cooking environment, before eventually making its way to a standalone Buffalo Wild Wings location in 2022.
“Technology is making a fundamental impact on the end-to-end restaurant operational model," said Paul Brown, CEO of Inspire Brands. “Intelligent automation including AI and robotics will not only transform how we communicate with and take orders from our guests but also how we prepare and serve food to those guests. This transformation will ultimately result in improved efficiencies in our restaurants and an overall elevated experience for our guests and our team members.”
In an upcoming episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics, gives more details about Flippy Wings, Flippy 2 and the company’s pilot projects with Inspire Brands.
Miso Robotics has leveraged crowdfunding to build the company. The company said that with nearly 15,000 shareholders, Miso Robotics has raised more than $30 million in crowdfunding to date and is currently in a Series D round, which kicked off with a market valuation of $350 million – a $270 million increase since their $80 million Series C open – and which recently passed $6 million in new investments.