Chipotle Mexican Grill will soon employ an autonomous kitchen assistant with artificial intelligence to make tortilla chips.
"We are always exploring opportunities to enhance our employee and guest experience. Our goal is to drive efficiencies through collaborative robotics that will enable Chipotle's crew members to focus on other tasks in the restaurant," said Curt Garner, chief technology officer, Chipotle.
Chipotle's culinary and technology teams called on MISO ROBOTICS to customize its latest robotic solution, named Chippy, to cook and freshly season Chipotle's tortilla chips. Chipotle's culinary team guided Miso in tailoring its technology to maintain the culinary integrity of the brand.
Leveraging artificial intelligence, Chippy is trained to replicate Chipotle's exact recipe – using corn masa flour, water and sunflower oil – to cook chips to perfection, season with a dusting of salt, and finish with a hint of fresh lime juice. It was imperative that the technique remained the same.
"Everyone loves finding a chip with a little more salt or an extra hint of lime," said Nevielle Panthaky, VP of Culinary, Chipotle. "To ensure we didn't lose the humanity behind our culinary experience, we trained Chippy extensively to ensure the output mirrored our current product, delivering some subtle variations in flavor that our guests expect."
Chippy is currently being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center, Chipotle's innovation hub in Irvine, CA, and will be integrated into a Chipotle restaurant in Southern California later this year. The company is leveraging its stage-gate process to listen, test and learn from crew and guest feedback before deciding on a national implementation strategy.
"When Chipotle challenged us to see if our technology could meet the brand's high standards for culinary quality, we couldn't wait to flex our engineering and design muscles," said Mike Bell, CEO, Miso Robotics. "This partnership will allow us to move into new territory to help improve back-of-house functions and assist team members with their day-to-day responsibilities."
An innovator in restaurant technology, Chipotle continues to invest in emerging solutions to support its growing digital business and reduce friction in its restaurants. The company believes technology deployed consistently and correctly can improve the human experience. Chipotle already leverages artificial intelligence with its concierge chat bot, Pepper. Pepper ensures guests have an exceptional experience on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com. Chipotle customers can select from frequently asked questions or ask their own questions to get a response quickly. Chippy joins Pepper in Chipotle's artificial intelligence suite to improve Chipotle's overall guest and employee experience.