The technology could soon be seen everywhere, from fast food joints to Wrigley Field.
Fast food workers worried they may one day be replaced by machines have 10 million more reasons to be concerned. Flippy, the hamburger-flipping robot we first discussed about a year ago, has garnered enough interest from investors that the company behind it, Miso Robotics has reportedly secured an additional $10 million in its latest round of funding, bringing the total disclosed investment in the Pasadena, California-based startup to $14 million—or about 1.9 million hours of work paid at the federal minimum wage.
Though some may point to this news as the latest step towards a robot takeover, for Flippy, the writing was on the wall. CaliBurger—a fast food chain that can best be described as an international In-N-Out imitator that became so successful it ironically started opening locations in California—already had an agreement with Miso Robotics to install Flippy in over 50 locations by the end of 2019. So in essence, this latest funding round will simply help the tech startup fulfill a pre-existing deal.
“We’re super stoked to use this funding to develop and scale our capabilities of our kitchen assistants and AI platform,” Dave Zito, CEO, and co-founder of Miso Robotics, told TechCrunch. “Our current investors saw an early look at our progress, and they were so blown away that they doubled-down.”
But previous investors weren’t the only ones taking interested in Flippy. TechCrunch also reports that among the startup’s newest investors is the Chicago-based hospitality company Levy—a brand that works with a laundry list of high-profile, large-scale clients from the Barclays Center in New York to the Staples Center in Los Angles and plenty of other stadiums, entertainment venues and convention centers in between. “The Levy participation is really centered around their looking at this future world where people are increasingly wanting prepared foods,” Zito continued. “People really like the idea of a kitchen assistant that can really come in and be that third hand for the overworked staff. They’re all reporting high turnover rate and increasing customer demand for fresh ingredients prepared quickly. Trying to keep that at accessible prices is hard.”
Yup, in the not-too-distant future, you might be able to go to Wrigley Field and get a hamburger flipped by a robot. Who’s on first? By that time, probably also a robot.