- Miso Robotics' automated fry station, Flippy 2, will become a part of Wing Zone’s standard restaurant builds going forward, Miso announced Wednesday.
- Wing Zone, which has more than 100 stores in its development pipeline, considers tech like Miso’s fry cook robot as part of its drive to be "the franchise of the future."
- Wing Zone’s partnership with Miso is the latest in a string of similar restaurant deals, reflecting growing industry confidence in automated elements of the production line.
Wing Zone is the first fast casual brand to pledge to include Flippy 2 in all its future builds, which Jacob Brewer, chief strategy officer at Miso Robotics, views as a vote of confidence in the robotic fry station.
“They're designing their future operations, designing their future menus, their future decisions on everything as it relates to frying with Flippy  in mind,” Brewer said. “To say you can't build our brand without a Flippy , that's pretty unique.”
Wing Zone sees operational efficiencies driven by robotic deployment as key to its future strategy.
“Our technology roadmap relies heavily on strategic partnerships with companies like Miso … that has the knowledge, data and resources to design robotics solutions that maximize our efficiency,” David Bloom, chief development and operating officer at Wing Zone, said in a statement.
Mike Bell, CEO of Miso, said in a statement that no other restaurant brand has placed such faith in robotic restaurant tech.
This partnership announcement parallels the launch of Wing Zone Labs, a franchise owned by Wavemaker Labs that aims to develop fully automated kitchens. Wavemaker is the product incubator that initially launched Miso Robotics.
Robotic kitchen equipment and front-of-house bussers had a prominent role at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show as operators contend with an ongoing labor shortages. Miso has emerged as a leader in the robotics and automation space on the strength of a $50 million crowdfunding campaign and its iterative robotics development, Brewer said.
Miso treats robots as a service, charging restaurants a $5,000 installation fee and a $3,000 monthly service charge, Brewer said, claiming this makes Miso's products cheaper than options offered by other robotics companies, which sell robots directly at a higher price point.
White Castle plans to add Flippy 2 to nearly one-third of its locations in the coming years. Chipotle is also testing Chippy, another Miso robot, that makes tortilla chips. Miso has argued its robots don’t replace workers, but allow chains to redeploy employees to other areas of operations.