Head over to Caliburger in Pasadena, US and you’ll now be able to enjoy a delicious cheeseburger cooked entirely by a robot rather affectionately named ‘Flippy’.
Rather than being a publicity stunt or a gimmick ‘Flippy’ has started full-time employment this week and will begin a 24/7 shift during which it will make up to 150 freshly cooked burgers every hour.
This isn’t a one-off either, the company that owns Caliburger has signed an agreement with the robotics firm Miso Robotics to eventually bring 50 of these robots to Caliburger’s restaurants around the globe.
Flippy isn’t cheap either, costing around $60,000. There’s also a yearly fee for maintenance and software updates.
What you get in return however is an employee that doesn’t take lunch, doesn’t need a pension and doesn’t get ill (although it might break down). If that scares you a little then consider that in addition to all this Miso expects Flippy to get much, much better at its job.
You see in addition to just flipping burgers, the robot is also capable learning from its mistakes as well as gaining whole new skills such as chopping, or adding seasoning.
So while it’s a hefty upfront cost, Caliburger is confident that it will be able to recoup on its investment through savings on human error, food waste and efficiency.
Flippy might seem like a cute enough novelty to have in your restaurant but as robots become more precise in their abilities it looks as though the services industry could be one of the first to feel the effects of machines encroaching on what would traditionally be jobs for humans.