White Castle, purveyors of tiny burgers and stoner fantasies, is running a pilot program testing a kitchen robot called Flippy, which will take over some kitchen duties like running the fryer and grill. That’s right, before we get robot umpires to definitively call balls and strikes or robot lifeguards to keep our swimmers safe, we are getting an almost fully autonomous robot in a QSR kitchen. This is likely a sign of things to come, with automation and robotics assuming back-of-house tasks with increasing frequency and efficiency though this could lead to some serious Matrix-level dystopia.
Automation is already all around us, assuming everyday tasks we customarily associate with human labor. We see it in the fast food industry, we see it in retail, and, increasingly, we are seeing automation in grocery. Yes, self-checkout is already a mainstay at many grocery stores, but from Des Moines to Sweden and back to California, three stores in particular have driven automation into the grocery experience in truly novel, and potentially game-changing ways.