Miso Robotics provides intelligent automation solutions for food services that solve some of the home kitchen operations. The AI-driven platform includes robotics, machine learning, computer vision, and data analytics. The company’s main product line includes the Flippy 2, CookRight, and Sippy. Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine asked Jake Brewer, Chief Strategy Officer at Miso, for his views on the present and future of increased use of robotics and automation in restaurants.
What is the impact of the pandemic on the application of robots in restaurants?
While our pipeline has always been very strong, even pre-pandemic, the current business environment has greatly increased interest in Miso solutions. Through our partnerships, we have had the opportunity to create, pilot and implement more automated solutions that are ideal for our partners’ needs. Restaurant operators know better than everyone else that this current labor challenge will not end.
What myths about increasing automation/robotics still exist?
There are persistent beliefs that automation and robotics will eliminate jobs, which is just a myth. Before the pandemic, restaurant jobs — especially those at home — saw high turnover rates. Since 2020, there is an absolutely high number of open jobs and a labor shortage.
Across the US, restaurants operate with 2.8 fewer in-house employees and 6.2 fewer back-of-house employees—something that makes meeting customer service expectations and revenue goals nearly impossible (Black Box Intelligence, 2021). The culture of delivery, express delivery and drive-through delivery has also exploded, and with it the growing demand for speed, quality and consistency.
Our technology streamlines operations, delivers a better customer experience and establishes overall business improvement and stability.
Is there resistance to increased automation/use of robots in restaurants?
Yes, there is some resistance to increased automation and the use of robots in restaurants. However, intelligent automation is a great tool that will not only help the operators but also the workers. Repetitive and dangerous tasks like operating a fryer are not roles that attract workers. Even when this happens, the turnover rate is so rapid that operators are in a constant loop of hiring and training new employees.
Solutions like Flippy and Sippy exist to supplement and support existing systems and staff – not take away jobs. So, for the workers who are there day in and day out, their jobs are getting easier. And for operators, there is suddenly a better and more marketable work environment to attract talent.
What other restaurant technology trends do you see?
We’re seeing more restaurants pilot and deploy automated solutions for internal operations. We’re also seeing changes to home kiosks and more sophisticated kiosks that can make fresh food or take your order straight, at the touch of a button.
Looking into the future, major brands will feel more comfortable dipping their toes in truly futuristic technology and fully automating certain aspects of a restaurant kitchen and beyond.
How would you describe Miso 2022?
Miso has made incredible strides in 2022. We’ve seen great momentum in the past year with our partnerships with some of QSR’s biggest global brands, including White Castle, top photo, Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Panera, Buffalo Wild Wings, Zone Wings, wings and rings.
Our brand continues to live up to our vision and mission of creating the commercial kitchen of the future by applying artificial intelligence, automation and robotics to address challenges plaguing the industry and creating a safer and better place to work for team members and a smoother dining experience for our guests.
Where do you see the most potential for robotics in 2023? (What’s next for Mizu?)
In 2023, restaurants will focus on expansion and adoption. We’re past the point where the question arises of whether robotics and automation will be implemented, but instead in the kitchen. The drinks and pans station is where we start in a big way as it has the greatest potential impact operationally on the restaurant.
Above image courtesy of Miso Robotics
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