Chipotle Mexican Grill, a US restaurant chain, is testing an automated digital makeline to create bowls or salads for orders containing burritos, tacos, quesadillas and kid’s meals.
The makeline can prepare all of the above for the same digital order, with the trial being supported by Hyphen, a foodservice platform designed to help those in the restaurant industry automate kitchen operations.
“Chipotle’s new digital makeline built by Hyphen embodies our commitment to leveraging robotics to unlock the human potential of our workforce, ensuring an elevated dining experience for our guests,” said Curt Garner, chief customer and technology officer, Chipotle.
“Our goal is to have the automated digital makeline be the centrepiece of all our restaurants’ digital kitchens.”
Bowls and salads are created by an automated system that then moves the entrées through the bottom makeline where ingredients for the order are dispensed automatically. At the same time, a Chipotle team member uses the top makeline to create burritos, tacos, quesadillas and kid’s meals.
The completed bowl is then raised and revealed at the end of the makeline through an opening in the countertop.
If an online order includes a bowl or salad, these elements are routed to Hyphen’s automated system.
Additional items such as chips, side salsas or guacamole can then be added to the order, with completed meals then placed in the designated pick-up area.
Chipotle has said some 65% of all of its digital orders are bowls or salads, meaning the cobotic digital makeline could free up more time for employees to make use of the front makeline and focus on hospitality, thus increasing capacity for online orders during peak periods.
What’s more, the new digital makeline could help enhance digital order accuracy, for an improved customer experience, the company has said.
Chipotle invested in Hyphen as part of its US$50m (£41.4m) venture fund.
Earlier this year, Chipotle made use of the Autocado, an avocado processing cobotic prototype that cuts, cores, and peels avocados, to support the preparation of guacamole.
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