Today Wavemaker Labs announced the launch of a new startup and bowl-making robotic kiosk concept called Nommi. Nommi will be “a standalone robotic kitchen that is able to produce and dispense any grain-, noodle- or lettuce-based dish through a fully integrated cooking system.”
Nommi is the latest robot startup concept to emerge from Wavemaker Labs, the food automation incubation studio behind Miso Robotics (Flippy, a back-of-house fry and grillbot), Bobacino (boba drinkbot), Future Acres (farm assistant) and Piestro (pizza kiosk). What’s unique about Nommi is the company is a product of a partnership between Wavemaker, C3 and chef Masaharu Morimoto, each of whom hold equity in the new company.
“As we started developing it, we really wanted to get partners to allow this to scale quickly, and really kind of stack the deck before we start playing,” said Buck Jordan, President and Co-Founder of Nommi and CEO of Wavemaker Labs, in a recent zoom interview with The Spoon.
C3, which has made a name for itself over the past couple of years for its aggressive expansion into virtual food haul concepts, has plans to order up to one thousand Nommi units over the next few years. While Jordan and C3 envision the Nommi augmenting some physical restaurant locations, the primary focus for the bowl food robot will be food delivery.
“We’re building this to be really delivery accessible,” said Jordan. “Delivery is going to double over the next five years, and so we want to be part of that.”
According to Jordan, while the initial machine will be designed to assemble food bowls that can be handed off to humans for delivery, Nommi envisions a future that will be roboticized from end to end.
The system is “designed and go through our system to be picked up by the regular delivery apps by human,” said Jordan. “But in the long term, we are trying to figure out a way to have a robotic transfer system to some of these robotic delivery machines out there to make a full end to end.”
Chef Morimoto will run the first Nommi, featuring menu items from his Sa’Moto restaurant brand. According to Jordan, Morimoto’s input had a significant impact on the robot design.
“Chef Morimoto wants really high-quality food,” said Jordan. “There’s no compromising when it when he puts his name on it.”
Because Morimoto wanted to delicately place ingredients in each food bowl, Nommi’s design team endeavored to build a robot capable of such high-fidelity food-making. This resulted in a wheeled cart system that moves around under food dispensing stations and rotates up to 360 degrees for precision ingredient placement. You can watch the Nommi assembling bowls via its wheeled cart system in the video below.
Nommi fills a hole in Wavemaker’s portfolio for a fully automated bowl kitchen kiosk. Wavemaker’s most well-known food robot startup, Miso, makes back-of-house robots for fry and grill work. Piestro makes consumer-facing pizza robot kiosks. With Nommi, the company has designed a flexible bowl-food robot that, according to Jordan, is flexible enough to replicate a variety of menus from high-end chefs.
“There will be brands built from the ground up to be automated,” said Jordan. “And so we want to take the best in class food from Michelin star chefs and bring fine dining to the masses. We want to do in a fully automated way and be able to have a grain bowl made by Morimoto cost the same as a Big Mac.”
Each Nommi machine has a capacity for up to 330 bowls and lids. Each kiosk will come with up to 21 food lockers that hold finished bowls. Customers or food delivery workers can pick up the food at the kiosk using a QR code.
According to Jordan, the company hopes to start shipping its production unit in 2023.