Creator, the robot-powered hamburger restaurant in San Francisco, is expanding into dinner service. Starting March 9, Creator will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the company posted on Instagram yesterday.
Creator is kind of a bellwether for the food robot industry. It’s a concept built around the idea of having a robot take over the manual repetition of grilling and assembling hamburgers, so human employees can focus on providing better customer service and learn new skills.
But up until this year, the Creator restaurant has had limited hours, operating only Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then this past January, the restaurant expanded service to five days a week (and added a plant-based burger option) but was still only open for lunch.
Those limited hours meant that really the only people who could enjoy Creator were office workers in downtown San Francisco. More specifically, those office workers in San Francisco within walking distance of the restaurant’s location at 3rd and Folsom. By opening up dinner hours, Creator should be able to attract a different clientele and really put its robot through its paces in terms of volume and uptime.
Food robotics is at an interesting point in its evolution. Robots that make food and drinks are still relatively new and remain more of a novelty than a common feature of restaurants. Even then, how those robots are being implemented is undergoing big changes.
In January, Miso Robotics unveiled the next iteration of its Flippy robot, which is no longer stationary and will be suspended on a rail to move back and forth as it grills burgers and fries tater tots. That new version of Flippy won’t be available until the end of this year, and in the meantime, Miso is turning to equity crowdfunding, not traditional VCs, to raise its next round of financing.
It looks like Creator’s slow, methodical approach is paying off, at least for its first location. Instead of trying to scale too quickly, Creator has seemingly been intentional in its addition of service hours. As it expands into dinner, the next challenge for Creator will be growing beyond one location.