Chipotle announced this week that it is testing using robots in its kitchens to prepare entrees ordered online.
According to Chipotle, a collaborative robot will begin preparing online orders at the Chipotle Cultivate Center in Irvine, California. According to Chipotle, the robot will work in tandem with a human employee in preparing the entrees.
Once an order is placed online, salads and bowls will be routed to the robotic system. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and kids meals will continue to be prepared by a human.
While the human is preparing these items, the robot is working underneath the food assembly area to measure ingredients for bowls and salads. Once the bowl or salad is prepared, it is raised to the prep station for the employee to put the final touches on the meal.
Chipotle said bowls and salads comprise 65% of its orders. The company said adding robots to its kitchens could help free up employees for other tasks.
"Chipotle's new digital makeline built by Hyphen embodies our commitment to leveraging robotics to unlock the human potential of our workforce, ensuring an elevated dining experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, Chipotle chief customer and technology officer. "Our goal is to have the automated digital makeline be the centerpiece of all our restaurants' digital kitchens."
The new robot is not the first one being tested at the Cultivate Center. Earlier this year, Chipotle began testing Autocado, a robot that helps the company prepare its famous guacamole. Chipotle said Autocado helps cut the preparation time of making its guacamole in half.
Chipotle is also testing another autonomous kitchen assistant Chippy, which integrates culinary traditions with artificial intelligence to make tortilla chips at one Fountain Valley, California, location.
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