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White Castle to hire 100 robots to flip burgers

The robotics program will take place in nearly one-third of the company’s locations.
White Castle burgers and fries
A burger-flipping robot may be coming to a White Castle near you.Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/ / Universal Images Group via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Midwestern fast-food chain White Castle is outsourcing some of its jobs to robots.

The hamburger chain announced plans this week to install Miso Robotics' "Flippy 2" in 100 locations.

The Ohio-based chain has been experimenting with the robotic fry cook since September 2020, when the original "Flippy" was installed in a Chicago area restaurant. After upgrading to "Flippy 2" at the original test location in November 2021, White Castle decided to roll out a larger version of the program.

"By taking over the work of an entire fry station, Flippy 2 alleviates the pain points that come with back-of-house roles at quick-service restaurants to create a working environment for its human coworkers that maximizes the efficiency of the kitchen," Miso Robotics said in a statement. "The improved workflow allows for the redeployment of team members to focus on creating memorable moments for customers."

"Flippy 2" works the fry station.
"Flippy 2" works the fry station.Courtesy of Miso Robotics

Miso Robotics said the rollout of the machines is being phased by region and is still in the planning stages.

The robotics program will take place in nearly one-third of the company's locations, as there are about 350 brick-and-mortar White Castle restaurants across the Midwest, Southwest and the New York area.

White Castle is hardly the first fast-food chain to look at artificial intelligence as a way of increasing efficiency and lowering labor costs. Other chains like Sonic, McDonald’s and Checkers are working with AI companies to streamline taking orders in the drive-thru.

At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, robots are preparing and serving meals to reporters (but not the athletes).

One restaurant in Texas hired three robots in 2021 to help serve hungry customers as waiters/food runners and in one Boston restaurant, robots prep and cook rice bowls at a low price.

Even grocery chain Kroger is working with their high-tech fulfillment centers across the country to streamline grocery delivery.