Developed by Flippy (the fry-cook robot) maker, Miso Robotics, Chipotle Mexican Grill in the U.S is testing Chippy, a robot being “trained” to make Chipotle’s tortilla chips, which are made in house daily from corn masa flour, water and sunflower oil and seasoned with a dusting of salt and lime juice.
Chipotle announced that the tortilla-frying tech is being tested at Chipotle’s Cultivate Centre innovation hub in Irvine, Calif., near the company’s Newport Beach, Calif. headquarters.
As the chain does with potential menu additions, the use of Chippy will go through Chipotle’s star-gate testing process before being considered for implementation.
“We are always exploring opportunities to enhance our employee and guest experience. Our goal is to drive efficiencies through collaborative robotics that will enable Chipotle’s crew members to focus on other tasks in the restaurant,” commented Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief technical officer.t,
Nevielle Panthaky, Chipotle’s vice president of culinary, added in statement that Chippy will mimic the qualities humans bring to tortilla frying.
“Everyone loves finding a chip with a little more salt or an extra hint of lime,” he said.
“To ensure we didn’t lose the humanity behind our culinary experience, we trained Chippy extensively to ensure the output mirrored our current product, delivering some subtle variations in flavour that our guests expect.”
Flippy was first demonstrated at the Pasadena, Calif.-based CaliBurger concept, and then later hired at White Castle to create more back-of-the-house efficiencies. Last month, White Castle said it plans to deploy a newer version (“Flippy 2”) at 100 stand-alone locations.
A wing-frying version — “Wingy” — has also been tested by Buffalo Wild Wings and Miso has developed other products designed to take on human tasks or ensure consistency, including an automated beverage dispenser (“Sippy”) and a grill monitor called CookRight that ensures steaks are flipped or removed at the right time.