CaliBurger Flippy robot employability

Occurred: March 2018

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USA Today reports that a robot burger-flipper at Caliburger, Pasadena, has been put on extended leave after working only a single shift due to a surge of orders after its introduction.  

Having made a big noise about its Flippy robot that it described as 'the future of food', manufacturer Miso Robotics had 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 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.'

Flippy's replacement robot Flippy 2 is marketed as 'flexible and modular to meet any kitchen's needs'. 

Flippy 2 costs a minimum USD 3,000 a month.

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

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2022