Chipotle is testing a new robot to make tortillas

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

Enter the tortilla robot at Chipotle as one way to fight the restaurant labor shortage.

Chipotle (CMG) said Wednesday it has linked up with Miso Robotics to bring "Chippy" into its restaurants. As the name would imply, Chippy is an autonomous robot programmed to make Chipotle's tortilla chips.

The robot is currently being tested at the company's innovation center in Irvine, California. It will be integrated into a Chipotle restaurant in Southern California later this year.

“We are always exploring opportunities to enhance our employee and guest experience. Our goal is to drive efficiencies through collaborative robotics that will enable Chipotle’s crew members to focus on other tasks in the restaurant,” said Chipotle Chief Technology Officer Curt Garner.

Chippy doesn't need any days off.
Chipotle's Chippy doesn't need any days off. Credit: Chipotle

If Chippy sounds familiar to you, it should.

White Castle — the first major fast-food chain to work with Miso Robotics on a robot several years ago — announced in February it would bring "Flippy 2" to one-third of its restaurants nationwide.

Flippy — unlike Chippy — is a robot that flips White Castle hamburgers with precision.

Meanwhile, other restaurant chains continue to explore their use of robots to tackle the labor shortage.

In 2021, Domino's Pizza struck a deal with self-driving delivery company Nuro. The deal led to the launch of autonomous pizza delivery in parts of Houston.

“The application of robots will be something that will grow in the economy generally,” former Sonic Drive-In’s CEO Clifford Hudson told Yahoo Finance last year. "The chances it will occur in the restaurant industry is excellent just like it will occur across other industries."

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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