The increase in automation within the Food and Beverage industry is set to improve the industry in a variety of ways.
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Miso Robotics Launched New Generation of Flippy Robot
Founded in 2016, Miso Robotics develops and manufactures industrial robotic arms to assist in food preparation, grilling, frying, and final assembly in commercial kitchens. In November 2021, Miso Robotics launched Flippy 2, the latest fry station automation solution. Compared to the previous model, Flippy 2 can handle a broader range of food stuffs, including French fries, onion rings, chicken wings, and chicken tenders.
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) based machine vision, Miso Robotics aims to resolve labor shortage in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry by creating highly competent robot cooks. Flippy can be trained to identify the food, pick it up, cook it in the correct fry basket, and place it into a hot-holding area. Aside from Flippy 2, Miso Robotics has also developed Flippy Wings, CookRight (an AI-powered grill assistant), and Sippy (an automated beverage dispenser). These fully automated kitchen robots only require minimal human supervision, freeing up kitchen staff for other tasks while limiting potential oil spillage, dripping, and burns caused by lifting and moving baskets.
Key Success Factors of Miso Robotics
To address the labor shortage challenge, especially during COVID-19, F&B companies are finding ways to automate repetitive processes. As of 2021, Miso Robotics has made a significant stride in the industry. The company has a long-term partnership with the quick service restaurant White Castle. Recently, the company added Inspire Brands, a US-based owner, and franchiser of several well-known restaurant chains, including Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, and Baskin-Robbins, as its latest client.
Miso Robotics has managed to tick all the right boxes when it comes to bringing down the adoption barrier. The company offers its solution using Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS), a business model that ABI Research covered extensively in 2018 and has become more prevalent in recent years. The most significant benefit of RaaS is that end users can now shift their capital expenditure (CAPEX) to an operational expenditure (OPEX), allowing them to deploy solutions without significant upfront costs. In addition, this enables Miso Robotics to establish a long-term service relationship with their end users, with more flexibility, scalability, and upgradeability in mind.
Miso’s continual investment in its machine vision platform is highly critical. By training the machine vision model to recognize all the ingredients and their appearance throughout the cooking process, the robots can cook all fried and grilled food to their desirable state with high consistency. More importantly, the software can improve over time.
In addition, Miso Robotics offers live professional support and real-time remote monitoring of its robots. This enables the tracking of their performance and the generation of data-driven insights. It also allows end users to integrate Miso Robotics’ solution into their point-of-sale and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
Fixed and Mobile Automation in F&B
Like logistics and manufacturing, there is a lot of limelight on the broad deployment of mobile robots in the F&B sector. Since restaurants generally have small spaces with many unpredictable human activities, it is not easy to develop an excellent mobile robot for a restaurant. Robotics startups such as Bear Robotics and Pudu Robotics have been deploying food service and delivery robots in various restaurants, reducing the reliance on human service staff. According to ABI Research’s market data, the shipment of mobile robots in F&B is expected to grow by six times the amount over the next five years.
That said, the success of Miso Robotics shows that the F&B industry also has urgent needs for fixed automation. Akin to piece picking and packing robotics arms and Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) in the intralogistics space, robotics arms that can prepare and cook meals can relieve human employees from repetitive and/or hazardous tasks. It would be interesting to see if any vendor will realize the importance of both fixed and mobile automation in the F&B industry and embrace the vision of developing a combination of fixed and mobile automation solutions. The benefits of consolidated, real-time insights on operational data across the front and back of house are crucial for a highly competitive industry like F&B. A vendor with the aforementioned end-to-end solution will be in pole position to lead and influence the market.