Flippy, The Burger-Flipping Robot, Is Making Moves

Flippy is doing more behind-the-scenes work in fast food kitchens these days.

We may be just a few weeks into the new year, but already a robot is making more professional progress than most New Year's resolutioners. Do you remember Flippy, the burger-flipping robotic arm? Well, Restaurant Business reports that Flippy has stepped beyond the fryer and is set to debut an upgrade that could bring its expertise into even more restaurant chains this year.

Miso Robotics, maker of Flippy, first debuted the robotic arm in 2018 with some notable adjustments that needed to be made. Flippy, in short, just wasn't prepared for the lunch rush. After some reconfiguration and tinkering, though, Flippy made its way back to the grill in 2020, serving up burgers at Dodgers Stadium and offering its services to fast food restaurants for the low price of appoximately $3 an hour.

By 2022, Flippy, more specifically the updated version, Flippy 2, had finally racked up enough kitchen experience for White Castle, which announced it would be rolling out 100 of the robotic cooks to its restaurants over the next few years. Flippy 2 would handle the fryer station, serving up menu items like fries, chicken rings, and fish patties.

The reach of this robotic arm has expanded to other fast food franchises as well. At Chipotle, Flippy uses AI technology to fry and season tortilla chips and is better known as Chippy. At Jack in the Box, Flippy is known as Sippy, but uses the same robotic technology to serve as an automatic beverage dispenser and sealer. Restaurant Business reports Flippy 2 is also in the business of making chicken wings: The robotic arm handles the last step of the wing-making process at Wing Zone.

Flippy has also once again gone through an upgrade. Miso Robotics has made the newest iteration, Flippy Next Gen, "smaller, faster, cheaper to manufacture, and 100% reliable." CEO Rich Hull tells Restaurant Business, "Nobody wants Flippy to go down during the lunch rush."

The demand for Flippy isn't just at existing franchises, either. Miso Robotics, in partnership with tech companies Cali Group and PopID, plans to open a new restaurant called Cali Express in which it will use this latest version of Flippy. The plan is to make Cali Express the world's first "fully automated restaurant."

Who knows just how far this robotic employee will go in 2024?