The Robot who Makes Tortilla Chips for Chipotle
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) is testing a new autonomous kitchen assistant to handle cooking up one of its core menu items —tortilla chips.
CMG's culinary and technology teams are working with Miso Robotics to customize its latest device, dubbed 'Chippy,' to cook and season Chipotle's chips with salt and fresh lime juice. Through artificial intelligence, Chippy is trained to recreate the exact recipe.
The robot is being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center, the company's innovation hub in Irvine, California, and will be used in a restaurant in Southern California later this year.
The company is relying on the“stage-gate process” it uses for new menu items to test and learn from workers and guests before deciding whether it should move ahead with a national rollout of Chippy.
Chipotle's chief technology officer said the idea originated when the company started thinking about using technology and AI to be a better predictor of when restaurants might run out of chips during the day. It's also hard for workers to leave the make line to fry more chips during peak times. Beyond that, leaning on tech could make the process more efficient and less mundane.
Chippy reportedly relies on some of the same tech in Miso Robotics' Flippy 2 chicken-wing-making robot, including the same arm and a similar frame.
The company's robots are also being used at White Castle for burgers and were tested at Inspire Brands' Buffalo Wild Wings for wings.
CMG shares began Wednesday trading up $39.05, or 2.6%, to $1,532.70.
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