Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Spitulnik says the technology is designed to make employees' lives easier and the work more efficient and enjoyable, leading to better retention. One of the main challenges Eatsa had to overcome in develop- ing its technology was integrating the various ordering channels that customers use—mobile, web, third-party delivery firms, etc.—so that they worked together, Spitulnik explains. "In order to create a seamless experience for both customers and operators, our technology had to be integrated from beginning to end," he says. Now orders from all channels are automatically added into the back-of-house system without human intervention, Spitulnik says. The order queueing algorithm also helps ensure accurate order availability times so that customers' orders are ready when pre- ordering customers arrive. Flippy the Robot Perhaps one of the most well-known labor-saving technologies in the restaurant industry is Flippy, the robotic burger flipper developed by Miso Robotics and deployed at the company's CaliBurger restaurant location in Pasadena. David Zito, CEO of Miso Robotics, says the key has been developing intelligent, autonomous solutions that can enhance today's commercial restaurant kitchens. "The ability to perceive the kitchen environment, safely work alongside staff, cook existing recipes perfectly consistently, all in a form-factor that easily fits into existing workf lows and is easily cleanable at the end of the day, is a breakthrough," Zito says. Flippy is driven by three core technologies—Miso See, Miso Serve, and Miso Move. The company has developed the technology to the point where Flippy can help with a wide range of kitchen tasks, Zito says. "We are also continuing to improve our current POS [point- of-sale] integration capabilities and are working to enhance our technologies' ability to reduce food waste," he says. Last year, Miso Robotics launched a partnership with Levy, which provides foodservice in sports arenas and other noncom- mercial foodservice venues. The two companies put Flippy to work cooking fresh chicken tenders and tater tots at a Chick 'N Tots stand at Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers base- ball team. Lu Walker, vice president of analytics at E15 Group, the tech- nology and analytics arm of Levy, describes the deployment as a "great success." "We always look for ways to optimize and streamline our kitch- ens for enhanced quality, speed, and throughput," he says. "The kitchen assistant, as well as the process involved in deploying the system, enabled us to achieve all of these results." Stationed in front of the fryer, the robotic contraption put full baskets of chicken tenders and tater tots into the fry oil, gently shak- ing them while they cooked. It monitored the cooking time, lifted the baskets out of the fryer when the items were done, then hung the baskets to drain the oil before placing them in a designated area. Robots and Humans Together In addition to demonstrating Flippy's ability to learn a new task— manning the fryer station—the test also showed how humans and robots could work side by side, the E15 spokesman says. It was important to educate and train Flippy's human co-workers, and to earn their acceptance, Walker says. "One area of opportunity for technology is automating repeti- tive and tedious tasks. Our partnership with Miso Robotics is so promising because the technology isn't just functionally effective, it's aware and responsive to the dynamic environments in our kitchens," he says. Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, likewise sees the promise of so-called co-bots working side by side with humans and taking on roles that help minimize risk of injury to humans. "Employee recruitment and retention remains the number-one The ability to perceive the kitchen environment, safely work alongside staff, cook existing recipes perfectly consistently, all in a form-factor that easily fits into existing workflows and is easily cleanable at the end of the day, is a breakthrough. PHOTO: MISO ROBOTICS SPRING 2019 29

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