Chipotle, the popular fast-food chain, is testing out a new robot that is designed to take over the task of slicing and de-pitting avocados that are used in guacamole making. The robot, called “Autocado,” is expected to cut guacamole prep time in half, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing food waste.
The Robot’s Features
The designers created the Autocado robot to cut, core, and peel avocados efficiently, eliminating the need for human intervention in the laborious task. Currently, Chipotle is testing the robot in its test kitchen in Irvine, California, before deploying it to its restaurants across the United States.
Benefits of the Robot
The new robot could potentially help alleviate the ongoing labor shortages that have swept across the restaurant industry. By introducing automated labor, brands like Chipotle, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell are testing out AI-powered voice bots to streamline their operations. Nearly 58% of restaurant operators expect more restaurants to utilize technology and automation to alleviate labor shortages this year, according to the 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry Report by the National Restaurant Association.
In a news release, Curt Garner, Chief Customer and Technology Officer at Chipotle, stated that the Autocado robot could ease the workload for Chipotle employees. He also mentioned that avocado preparation is one of their least favorite responsibilities. The company is committed to exploring collaborative robotics to drive efficiencies and ease pain points for their employees.
Chipotle has recently rolled out several initiatives aimed at making their employees’ lives easier, such as faster grills and ways to streamline complicated orders that go viral on TikTok. Last year, the brand started testing the chip-making robot, Chippy, which was intentionally designed to make imperfect tortilla chips. For Chippy, Chipotle partnered with Miso Robotics, the company behind burger-flipping and wing-frying robots used by White Castle and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Investment in Vebu
Chipotle is also investing in Vebu Labs, a food industry robotics startup, as part of the fast food chain’s $50 million Cultivate Next venture. Future investments could include farming and supply chain innovations, as well as advanced robotics, Chipotle said in a press release.
The Future of Automation
The introduction of robots and automation into the restaurant industry is not a new concept. However, with the ongoing labor shortages that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of technology and automation has become more prevalent. It is likely that more restaurants will start utilizing these technologies to streamline their operations and improve efficiency.
What is the name of the robot being tested by Chipotle?
The name of the robot being tested by Chipotle is “Autocado.”
What is the purpose of the Autocado robot?
The Autocado robot efficiently cuts, cores, and peels avocados, eliminating the need for human intervention in this laborious task.
How will the Autocado robot benefit Chipotle employees?
The Autocado robot could potentially help ease the workload for Chipotle employees, particularly in avocado prep, which is one of their least favorite responsibilities.
What other initiatives has Chipotle rolled out recently?
Chipotle has recently rolled out several initiatives aimed at making their employees’ lives easier, such as faster grills and ways to streamline complicated orders that go viral on TikTok.
What is the future of automation in the restaurant industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated labor shortages, leading the restaurant industry to adopt a more prevalent use of technology and automation. It is likely that more restaurants will start utilizing these technologies to streamline their operations and improve efficiency.
First Reported on Business Insider