Chipotle Mexican Grill to test robot tortilla chip maker

Chipotle is testing the Chippy autonomous kitchen assistant, which offers a robotic solution for making chips in restaurants.

Credit: Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill takes it one step further with a robot making tortilla chips.

The burrito chain said on Tuesday that it will test “Chippy,” a self-contained kitchen assistant built by Miso Robotics, at a restaurant in Fountain Valley, Calif., next month. Chipotle has already tested Chippy’s ability to make and season its tortilla chips with salt and lime at its headquarters’ innovation center in Irvine, California.

As with the rest of new technologies and menu items, the company relies on its “step process” to test and learn from employees and customers to decide how to roll out the technology across the country. Today, Chipotle restaurant workers fry and season the chips, which can take a long time.

Restaurants and retailers are testing robotics and automation to speed up operations and reduce repetitive work for workers. Starbucks recently introduced new systems for more efficient brewing of cold coffee drinks, drip coffee brewing, and food serving. Elsewhere, Panera Bread and McDonald’s are testing an automated in-car ordering system to reduce service times, and White Castle and Buffalo Wild Wings are also testing Miso Robotics technology.

In addition to the Chippy restaurant test, Chipotle said it is testing a new kitchen management system that uses machine learning to predict demand for its ingredients to improve freshness and minimize food waste. The system, developed by PreciTaste, is being tested in eight restaurants in Orange County.

And in Cleveland, the company said 73 of its restaurants are testing location technology to improve its mobile app. The program is designed to help customers and delivery drivers know when orders are ready, if they are in the wrong place, and scan loyalty QR codes. The technology, created by Radius Networks’ Flybuy, is also used by retailers such as Harris Teeter, Albertsons and Vineyard Vines.

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