The patent is filled with the requisite mechanical drawings and legalese, but there were a couple of things that stood out. From the patent filing:
The invention provides a fast food restaurant/kitchen concept or kiosk with drastically reduced overhead costs. This is possible by automating the entire meal production system, therefore eliminating the need for onsite employees and reducing the space required for the restaurant.
As my colleague, Mike Wolf, found out earlier this year, the Spyce restaurant in Boston still relied on humans to help explain the newfangled automated concept to customers as well as finish up the food once it was cooked by the robot. Since this is the first such Spyce restaurant, it’s understandable that they would have a few people on hand as they worked out any kinks. But if the patent is any indication, future locations won’t have such people power:
The inventive apparatus can be configured to autonomously cook and serve up to 300 meals or more per day with no human involvement. The automated restaurant will preferably be restocked and serviced by employees once every 24 hours.
According to their patent filing, Spyce believes that by reducing/eliminating the human costs associated with running a fast food type restaurant can free up resources to create better food. It’s a solid argument, now we’ll just have to see how it plays out in real life.
There are plenty of robot-powered restaurants coming online. From Creator and Flippy here in the U.S. to the thousands of locations JD.com and Haidilao plan to in China, and you can expect more throughout next year.
But it looks like Spyce may have ambitions beyond its own restaurant and may expand into other applications:
Alternatively, the inventive apparatus and system can be used in industrial applications for the automated production of ready-to-eat food products or entrees in bulk.
Perhaps Spyce is thinking about going all Wolfgang Puck and creating its own line of pre-packaged Spyce meals that could be sold in grocery aisles. Or maybe it will offer its robot as a white-label food maker for grocery stores or other CPG companies to create their own customized and branded prepared meals.
Spyce, which raised $21 million in funding this year, seems to be setting itself up to scale beyond the restaurant biz.