- Chipotle introduces a robotic assembly line for bowls and salads.
- Collaboration with startup Hyphen aims to optimize staff focus on customer service.
- Fans react, some with concerns over automated portion sizes.
Chipotle, the popular fast-casual eatery, is diving into the world of high-tech dining. The company is trying out a robotic system designed to put together their burrito bowls and salads. A significant portion, about 65%, of Chipotle’s digital orders are for these dishes. Interestingly, this innovation has sparked some animated reactions from loyal customers, especially regarding the portion sizes served by these machines.
In collaboration with food automation startup, Hyphen, the goal is to streamline the bowl-making process. This would allow human staff more time to focus on customer service and crafting other intricate dishes such as burritos and tacos. Additionally, this move aims to enhance the efficiency of handling online orders during busy hours.
The magic happens as follows: when a customer orders a bowl or salad through digital means (Chipotle's app, website, or even third-party delivery platforms like Uber Eats), the order finds its way to Hyphen's automation. As the dish makes its journey on the assembly line tucked beneath a workstation, each ingredient is added with precision.
Once assembled, the bowl rises up to a Chipotle team member who adds the finishing touches, like chips, guacamole, or salsas. For those intrigued about this tech-wonder, there’s a video demonstration available. Curt Garner, Chipotle’s Chief Customer and Technology Officer, highlighted the company's vision, stating that they aim to place this robotic system at the heart of every Chipotle digital kitchen, as it embodies their dedication to blend robotics with the human touch for an enhanced dining experience.
However, it’s not all praise and admiration. Many Chipotle enthusiasts have voiced concerns over the portion sizes dished out by the machine. Comments on X, formerly Twitter, ranged from fears of robots being miserly with portions to customers reminiscing about generous employees. Amidst these advances, Chipotle has also introduced the “Autocado,” a robot specializing in avocado processing. As of now, though, patrons eager to experience these tech marvels will have to visit Chipotle's Cultivate Center in Irvine, CA.
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