CaliBurger Flippy robot fired after one day

Occurred: March 2018

A robot burger-flipper at Caliburger, Pasadena, was put on extended leave after working only a single shift having been unable to cope with a surge of orders.

Having made a big noise about its Flippy robot that it described as 'the future of food', manufacturer Miso Robotics was forced to pull its technology after it quickly exceeded its 2,000-burger-a-day capacity. 

According to CaliBurger CTO Anthony Lomelino, 'human staff' were part of the problem. 'Working with people, you talk to each other. With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule' he says.

The incident raised questions about the robustness of the robot. It also stimulated discussion about the purpose of robots and their impact on jobs, with some commentators reckoning many jobs will disappear and income equalities widen.

In an October 2022 interview with Reuters, Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell said that some day, people will 'walk into a restaurant and look at a robot and say, 'Hey, remember the old days when humans used to do that kind of thing?’ 'And those days ... it's coming. ... It's just a matter of ... how quick.'

Operator: Cali Group
Developer: Miso Robotics
Country: USA
Sector: Travel/hospitality
Purpose: Flip burgers
Technology: Robotics
Issue: Robustness; Employment - jobs
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2022