- Technology firm Remy Robotics is launching its automated cooking robots in the U.S. with a “robot restaurant” concept in New York City, the company announced Thursday. The company said its robots have “secretly” served 100,000-plus meals from retail and CloudKitchens locations in the Big Apple, Barcelona, Madrid and Paris, to positive customer reviews.
- The restaurant, called Better Days, employs machines that use artificial intelligence to cook hundreds of menu items in kitchens as small as 200 square feet, per a press release. The concept’s hub-and-spoke model begins with humans preparing ingredients in a central commissary, but robots do the cooking.
- The robotic kitchen doesn’t require traditional ventilation systems or human supervision, reflecting the restaurant industry’s push toward labor-saving technology as chains wrestle with rising wages and a challenging labor market.
Remy claims its robotic chefs solve for one of the biggest challenges restaurants face in the automated technology and ghost kitchen spheres: quality control. The production model uses algorithmic recipes that account for a product’s “heat absorption, weight, granularity, and continued cooking during delivery,” as well as AI-enabled infrared sensors that assess the food’s internal temperature, per the release.
“Remy’s technology is so precise and powerful that it adjusts cook times automatically for orders depending on whether they are placed for delivery, takeout or dine-in,” the company said in a statement.
Investment in automated kitchens is becoming increasingly common for QSR and fast causal chains, which are looking to increase throughput and keep up with diner demands for efficiency without incurring high labor costs. Sweetgreen, for example, launched automated makelines in May and is now speeding up its rollout of the technology. Chipotle is experimenting with chip makers, guacamole bots, and an automated makeline. McDonald’s previously tested robotic fry cooks, but CEO Chris Kempczinski said on an earnings call a few months before that robots are “not practical for the vast majority of restaurants.”
A Deloitte report published this summer shows diners, especially young people, are becoming more comfortable with this technology. This could suggest further opportunity for automated kitchen innovation, but Remy’s model is bucking a trend, as the industry has begun to cool on the prospect of ghost kitchens.
Better Days is available for delivery on all major aggregator platforms, as well as its own Better Days: Delivery app.