Industry and investor appetite for robots to prepare food is growing, as maturing technologies offer relief from chronic labor shortages. Miso Robotics Inc., which makes burger-flipping robot Flippy, yesterday announced an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise up to $30 million.
The food-service industry is suffering 150% staffing turnover, even as the market for food delivery is expected to reach $350 billion by 2030, said Miso Robotics. The global food robotics market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 12.7% to reach $3.1 billion by 2025, predicts Meticulous Research.
Miso has developed a robotic kitchen assistant using artificial intelligence for the restaurant industry. Flippy is designed to grill 150 burgers per hour and can run for up to 100,000 hours of continuous uptime, said the company. The robot has received full certification from NSF International for meeting commercial kitchen sanitation standards.
The cloud-connected Miso AI platform includes three features to control costs, increase productivity and profitability, and improve the dining experience, according to Miso Robotics. Miso See uses 3D cameras and thermal sensors to identify ingredients, cookware, and utensils for a FANUC six-axis industrial robotic arm. Miso Serve optimizes cooking decisions in real time, and Miso Move provides control for the frying process. It can also make French fries in addition to hamburgers.
Miso on the move
The first Flippy began working in March 2018 at a CaliBurger in Pasadena, Calif., and the chain plans to invest $11 million to install the robot at 50 more locations worldwide, starting with Fort Myers, Fla. In addition, Walmart headquarters and Dodger Stadium tested Flippy last year.
“We are thrilled to provide a new window of access into an innovative world where artificial intelligence can assist kitchen staff in meeting the fast-paced demands of the changing food-service industry,” stated Buck Jordan, co-founder and CEO of Miso Robotics. “Since its debut, Flippy has become a household name. We’re excited to bring fans along on our next journey and venture towards growth.”
The Robot Report is launching the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, which will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo will focus on improving the design, development, and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, and registration is now open.
Will crowdfund for food
Miso has raised more than $13 million in Series A and B rounds, and it has an estimated annual revenue of $3 million. The company has 25 employees, including roboticists, engineers, and industrial designers from Caltech, Cornell, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Art Center, and UNC Chapel Hill.
Venture capital firm Wavemaker Labs and crowdfunding platform SeedInvest Technology LLC are working with Miso Robotics on its campaign. In equity crowdfunding, startups and private companies can raise funding in relatively small amounts from a large pool of investors rather than through a traditional venture capital model.
Miso said this provides individuals “an opportunity to have personal stake in groundbreaking new industries, such as artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics.” Other robotics startups that have turned to equity crowdfunding include laundry-folding robot maker FoldiMate Inc.
Other food robotics startups include Chowbotics, which recently unveiled its Sally 2.0 system for dispensing fresh foods; Creator, which is backed by Alphabet Inc. and last year hired robotics veteran Martin Buehler; Moley Robotics, which launched its own crowdfunding campaign in 2016; and Spyce, which makes food bowls to order and raised $21 million in Series A funding in September 2018.