Chipotle is moving its tortilla robot to a real restaurant

Chipotle’s tortilla robot will soon be helping out at a restaurant you can visit. The chain has unveiled a slew of technology updates, including moving the Miso Robotics-made Chippy robot to an actual restaurant. The machine will begin cooking tortilla chips in October at a location in Fountain Valley, California. Customer and employee feedback helps the company decide on a nationwide rollout.

Artificial intelligence will also influence some human cooks. Chipotle is testing an on-demand cooking system that uses AI to tell workers what and when to cook based on forecasts of demand. In theory, this takes the pressure off staff while also ensuring there are enough freshly made tacos and burritos when you show up for dinner. The pilot is currently running at eight restaurants in Orange County, California.

There is also a technique upgrade that you can use. An opt-in program in the Chipotle app lets you know when your order is ready, reminds you to scan your rewards code, and can even warn you if you show up at the wrong pickup location. The experiment will be conducted at 73 restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Chippy and Kitchen AI projects may be well timed. While there are concerns that AI and robotics could automate people at restaurants like Chipotle and McDonald’s, the stakes are coming as retailers continue to struggle with staff shortages. This theoretically gives workers the freedom to focus on serving customers rather than drudgery behind the scenes.

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