PASADENA (CBS Local) – Flippy, the burger-flipping robot cook, has returned to a Pasadena fast-food restaurant. The new and improved Flippy is looking to erase its rocky March debut, when it got a pink slip after just one day on the job.
Miso Robotics sold burger chain CaliBurger on the idea of replacing its kitchen staff with the patty-flipping robots in 2017. “We really think of ourselves as a technology company that happens to sell cheeseburgers,” CaliBurger founder John Miller said at the time.
However, Flippy’s 2018 debut didn’t go as planned. The automated grill operator couldn’t keep up with the demand customers at the Pasadena restaurant had for a robot-cooked burger. Flippy was shut down on March 9 after its first day when it couldn’t flip enough patties or properly put them on the serving trays.
“We got a little ahead of ourselves,” Miso Robotics CEO David Zito told USA Today, admitting they “were overwhelmed by the response.”
After two months on the shelf, Flippy’s creators say the robot is ready for the kitchen again. It’s already handling the chain’s lunch shift, cooking burgers for three hours a day, seven days a week.
“Now he moves like a ninja and is more reliable,” Zito added.
CaliBurger says that it still plans to have the upgraded Flippy robots in 50 of its locations by 2019. Each robot reportedly costs between $60,000 and $100,000.
The robotics company insisted that their robot is not meant to put humans out of work and said humans are still needed to help Flippy operate in the kitchen. “Our mission is to improve working conditions of chefs and line cooks with assistants, not replace them,” Zito said via CBS News.