- Jack in the Box and Miso Robotics will pilot two of Miso's robot products, Sippy and Flippy 2, at a Jack in the Box location later this year, Miso announced Tuesday. Flippy 2 automates back-of-house fry stations, while Sippy automates beverage preparations.
- The two companies are discussing further integrations in the months ahead, according to a press release.
- Miso has begun pilots of its robotic technology with other major restaurant chains, such as Panera, as high labor turnover pushes operators to seek in-store efficiencies.
Miso's Flippy 2 and Sippy products ensure restaurant employees spend "less time at the fryer and drink stations and more time in front of customers," Miso said in the press release.
Several major restaurant chains are exploring automated robotics solutions to offset wage and inflation hikes as the labor shortage holds steady. Earlier this month, Panera said it will test Miso's artificial intelligence-enabled coffee monitoring system, CookRight Coffee, at two locations.
The technologies can also be labor-saving, as QSRs don't need as many employees at the drinks and fry stations to ramp up output when these robots are deployed, Miso CEO Mike Bell said in an email.
Flippy 2 increases throughput by 30%, or around 60 baskets per hour, Bell said, and requires less than one full-time employee to man the fry station alongside it, Bell said. Sippy can fill 200 drinks in an hour, and can ensure greater order accuracy because its automated workflow is integrated with restaurants' POS systems. Sippy's pricing is still being determined, Bell said.
These efficiencies could help Jack in the Box, which recently acquired Del Taco, improve its sales. In its most recent 10-Q, Jack in the Box said same-store sales at company-owned restaurants had fallen 0.3% compared to the quarter ending in Jan. 2021, driven mostly by a 3.8% decline in transactions. The company cited labor as a major cost pressure, and its net income declined to $39 million in the quarter ending in January 2022 versus $50 million a year prior.
"Payroll and employee benefit costs as a percentage of company restaurant sales increased to 33.1% in 2022 compared with 30.6% a year ago primarily due to labor inflation," Jack in the Box's 10-Q states. "Labor inflation was approximately 10.9% in the current fiscal year."
In the same 10-Q, Jack in the Box said labor issues led to reductions in hours at a number of restaurants. This cost pressure could be eased by Miso's robots, especially if Flippy 2 delivers on its promised efficiencies. White Castle is happy with the product's results so far, announcing in February that it will bring Flippy 2 to 100 more locations.