Chowbotics announced the release of its new Sally 2.0 robot salad making machine today. According to a press release sent to The Spoon, the new machine features a larger tablet display and user interface, wheels for more mobility, and new breakfast menu as well as snack items like açai and yogurt bowls.
As part of today’s announcement, Salad Station, the southern fast casual restaurant chain that already has 11 Sallies in operation, said it would roll out 50 Salad Station-branded Sallies across seven states, though no timeline for that expansion was given.
2019 has been a pretty big year for Chowbotics. In January, the company announced a partnership with French vegetable company Bonduelle to bring Sally robots to Europe. In March Chowbotics shared sales data showing that hospitals were becoming a lucrative location for its robots, selling up to 120 salads a day (at the time Chowbotics said locations only need to sell 7 bowls a day to break even). In August Sally robots were sent off to a number of colleges across North America including Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH; College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA; and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. And then earlier this month, the company named Rick Wilmer as its new CEO as Founder Deepak Sekar moved to become president and head of technology, product and strategic partnerships for Chowbotics.
Sally is part of a larger cohort of food robotics companies that are quietly revolutionizing the concept of what vending machines can be. Briggo is putting its robot-barista in its first Whole Foods, and Yo-Kai Express is set to debut a new iteration of its machine that has two hot ramen dispensers so there isn’t as much wait time. These and other standalone food robots are perfect for busy locations like colleges and hospitals because they can serve fresh food around the clock without the need for staff.
As companies like Chowbotics continue to improve their robots, 2020 is shaping up to be a year where automated food literally levels up from 1.0 to 2.0.