White Castle is planning to expand its Miso Robotics partnership to put robot fry cooks in 100 stand-alone locations nationwide.
Together, the burger chain and automation company will install a "flexible and modular" restaurant kitchen system known as the Flippy 2, which is programmed to store, fry and dispense food with automated robot arms.
The two companies first teamed up on a pilot program in July 2020. At the time, White Castle executives said the fast food chain would likely adopt Flippy robots in its kitchens if the pilot program proved to be successful.
"Our partnership with Miso continues to lead the way on what's next for back-of-house restaurant operations looking to empower team members with technology to better satisfy customers," Jeff Carper, chief operating officer of White Castle, said in a recent press release.
"Having Flippy 2 be a new hire at 100 of our White Castle locations keeps us on a path to achieve big goals at White Castle."
White Castle’s release noted that widespread adoption of the Flippy 2 fry station will help restaurant workers alleviate kitchen "pain points" and improve workflow along with worker and customer satisfaction.
Marketing materials from Miso Robotics say the second-generation Flippy completes food prep tasks two times faster and fries 30% more food at a time compared to its human counterparts.
The Flippy 2 has a starting cost of $3,000 per month. Additional models will be released throughout 2022, according to Miso Robotics.
"We could not be more grateful for the confidence White Castle has shown in us as we enter into the next phase of our partnership," Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell, said in a statement. "White Castle was the first large brand to embrace our technology, and we are thrilled that our Flippy pilot made such a positive impact on their operations that they want to integrate 100 more. We can't wait to continue on this journey with such an outstanding partner."
White Castle and Miso Robotics’ partnership comes at a time when some fast food and restaurant chains are struggling to retain employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.