As vaccinations roll out around the world, one area to watch is office buildings and corporate campuses. Specifically, what physical workplaces will look like.
For instance, will big corporate campuses have cafeterias? Pre-pandemic, those made sense (for big companies), but do they now? Will there be enough workers to justify the high cost of running a cafeteria, and will workplace kitchens need to be re-designed with more contactless interactions in mind?
It’s against this backdrop of unknowns that we’re seeing companies like Aitme appear. Based in Berlin, Aitme (eye-t-me) is building a fully autonomous restaurant kiosk. The current version of the kiosk is 8 sq. meters (86 sq. ft.), but the next iteration has already shrunk that size down to 4 sq. meters (43 sq. ft.).
Inside, the Aitme holds 40 hot and cold ingredients and has a menu of 10 different meals, including pasta bolognese, tahini protein bowl and curries. There are articulating arms to grab ingredients and rotating induction bowls to heat and mix meals. Customers order via attached tablet, and Aitme can make 120 meals in an hour. The machine is self-cleaning and only needs to be re-stocked once a day.
Unlike Mezli, which is building out its own robo-restaurant brand, Aitme is strictly a B2B play, aiming to be the new automated cooks for office cafeterias. If one were to be installed in, for example, Google, the menu could be customized and branding on the kiosk would be Google’s with a small “powered by Aitme” visible somewhere.
Aitme shares some robo-qualities with other players in the standalone automated cooking space. Both RoboEatz and Karakuri have fully robotic restaurant kiosks, but both are looking to license their technology out to third-party restaurants.
Aitme may be more appealing to businesses than office food delivery services because Aitme can run around the clock. With delivery, workers are locked into eating a particular time. Aitme can cook up a hot meal anytime of day or night.
Additionally, Aitme is also contactless, so offices would have fewer human-to-human vectors of transmission as they figure out appropriate worker schedules and social distancing.
Aitme has raised €3 million (~$3.5M USD) and has one contract to install one of their kiosks at an undisclosed customer. The company aims to have five more units sold and produced this year.
Want to know more about the future of food robotics? Join us at ArticulATE, our virtual food automation summit, happening on May 18.