The robot, named Flippy, can make up to 300 burgers an hour and is currently being tested at the chain's Pasadena location

Automation in restaurants, especially fast food ones, is nothing new. Chains like McDonald’s have included self-ordering screens that speed up the process by cutting lines and wait time. But CaliBurger is proving that turnover can be increased even more, with the aid of a kitchen robot named Flippy—the first of its kind.

The robot, developed by Miso Robotics, can make up to 300 burgers an hour and is currently being tested at the chain’s Pasadena location. CaliBurger is calling it “the future of food,” with its ability to complement kitchen staff by assisting with one of the most grueling jobs. Flippy functions using Miso AI, a cloud-connected learning platform that powers industrial robotic arms. It detects when raw patties are placed on the grill, monitors them in real time, alerts staff when to place the cheese on top, switches from raw to cooked meat spatulas (in addition to cleaning them while cooking) and scrapes the grill.

But, although Flippy’s high efficiency is certainly improving margins, it raises concerns about the humans whose job he might be taking. According to co-founder and chief executive officer of Miso Robotics David Zito, it’s not about replacing workers, but aiding them to do their jobs better and focus on other areas like hospitality. “Our mission is to improve working conditions of chefs and line cooks with assistants, not replace them. Anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant knows how hard the work is and the value of extra hands and that’s exactly what we built,” he said in a press release.

In truth, a kitchen robot like Flippy seems like a natural evolution of the current trend to automate fast food eateries—and in a few years its public perception might be no different than that of an automatic dishwasher.

CaliBurger | Miso Robotics

Automation in restaurants, especially fast food ones, is nothing new. Chains like McDonald’s have included self-ordering screens that speed up the process by cutting lines and wait time. But CaliBurger is proving that turnover can be increased even more, with the aid of a kitchen robot named Flippy—the first of its kind.

The robot, developed by Miso Robotics, can make up to 300 burgers an hour and is currently being tested at the chain’s Pasadena location. CaliBurger is calling it “the future of food,” with its ability to complement kitchen staff by assisting with one of the most grueling jobs. Flippy functions using Miso AI, a cloud-connected learning platform that powers industrial robotic arms. It detects when raw patties are placed on the grill, monitors them in real time, alerts staff when to place the cheese on top, switches from raw to cooked meat spatulas (in addition to cleaning them while cooking) and scrapes the grill.