The pilot is a collaboration between Miso, data analytics company E15 Group, and hospitality company Levy, who participated in Miso’s Series B funding round earlier this year. Miso and Levy had announced a plan to put Flippy in sports venues back in March.
The first Flippy works at the Pasadena Caliburger location, flipping burgers. When the ‘bot first came online in March, it ran into a few technical snafus as well as some issues with human counterparts keeping up. After a brief hiatus, Flippy returned to CaliBurger in May; it now cooks up thousands of burgers a day.
This stadium gig will be an intriguing test for Flippy. First, Miso is adding a new skill to the robot, moving it from the grill to the fryer, pushing Flippy’s artificial intelligence, HD cameras, thermal sensors and grippers all into a new food type and cooking technique. Second, it’s working at Dodger Stadium, which seats 56,000 people, so there will be high volume of work over a shorter period of time.
Having said that, baseball seems like the perfect sport for Flippy to start with. The slow and leisurely place means customers coming throughout the game, rather than high bursts of activity between quarters or halves.
As Mike Wolf pointed out earlier this week, robot restaurants are all the rage, and Flippy’s move to the majors is a perfect example of why. Robots can do dangerous, repetitive work more precisely, and leave us humans to do higher level work. By one 2017 estimate, foodservice accounted for 12,000 burns to employees per year. If Flippy can run the fryer properly, fewer employees could get hurt (saving people from pain and restaurants money).
If you’re in the LA area, take yourself out to the ball game, buy yourself some peanuts and robot-cooked chicken tenders and tell us how they are.