Tests show a 10 to 20 percent increase in food production speeds.
Buffalo Wild Wings is testing a new robotic chicken wing frying solution to streamline back-of-house operations.
The tech-forward product, created by Miso Robotics, is called Flippy Wings. The machine is equipped with an AutoBin system that provides kitchen staff with multiple food-safe bins where products are dropped for cooking. After the robot's AI vision automatically identifies the food, it pick ups the items, cooks them, and then drops them off into a hot holding area. In the mean time, back-of-house staff is able to cook more and spend much less time attending to the deep fryer.
Additionally, Flippy Wings increases safety by eliminating several hot touch points and significantly decreasing oil spillage. Miso's tests show a 10 to 20 percent increase in food production speeds when using the robot.
Buffalo Wild Wings started piloting the machine at the Atlanta-based Inspire Brands Innovation Center this fall, where Flippy Wings—or "Wingy," as the kitchen staff calls it—is being tuned and adjusted to the chain's specifications. Inspire will then test Flippy Wings in a real cooking environment by installing another unit at Alliance Kitchen, a 7,500-square-foot, $2.6 million ghost kitchen that opened earlier this year. After that, the robot will enter a standalone Buffalo Wild Wings in 2022.
"Technology is making a fundamental impact on the end-to-end restaurant operational model," Paul Brown, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings parent Inspire Brands, said in a statement. "Intelligent automation including AI and robotics will not only transform how we communicate with and take orders from our guests but also how we prepare and serve food to those guests. This transformation will ultimately result in improved efficiencies in our restaurants and an overall elevated experience for our guests and our team members."
In addition to Inspire and Buffalo Wild Wings, Miso said it has "several other pilot agreements" with other national brands, and that it plans to announce more partnerships and products later this year.
“We’re incredibly proud to not only unveil Flippy Wings, but to also have an exceptional brand like Inspire share our vision of kitchen automation,” said Miso CEO Mike Bell said in a statement. “From day one, Flippy Wings will cook more food with less waste and save staff for higher value contributions. Flippy Wings fries fresh, frozen or hand-breaded products like a pro, avoiding cross contamination and increasing throughput while reducing costs. It is fast, safer to operate than traditional fryers and the whole system can be set up in just a few hours over existing equipment. We think team members in restaurants everywhere are going to love having Flippy Wings working for them.”
Miso is the same company behind Flippy, a burger-flipping robot most notably tested by White Castle.