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03/17/2022

Chipotle Tests Robotic Kitchen Assistant

Chippy is an autonomous kitchen assistant that uses AI to make tortilla chips.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Chipotle Chippy robot
Chippy is currently being tested at Chipotle's innovation hub in Irvine, Calif., and will be integrated into a Southern California location later this year.

Chipotle Mexican Grill revealed its latest digital innovation, Chippy, an autonomous kitchen assistant that makes tortilla chips. Chipotle's culinary and technology teams teamed up with Miso Robotics to customize the robotic solution to cook and freshly season Chipotle's tortilla chips.

Leveraging artificial intelligence, Chippy is trained to replicate Chipotle’s exact recipe – using corn masa flour, water and sunflower oil – to cook chips to perfection, season with a dusting of salt, and finish with a hint of fresh lime juice.

Chippy is currently being tested at Chipotle's innovation hub in Irvine, Calif., and will be integrated into a Southern California location later this year. The company is leveraging its stage-gate process to listen, test and learn from crew and guest feedback before deciding on a national implementation strategy.

Enhancing the Employee and Guest Experience

"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 Curt Garner, Chief Technology Officer, Chipotle.

Using AI as much as possible to automate mundane or physically difficult tasks, so that staff can focus on the business of true hospitality, and gain real-world experience with cutting-edge technologies, was a theme echoed at MURTEC and in particular the panel, IT Gets Real With AI featuring CKE, Inspire Brands and Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe.

Chipotle's culinary team guided Miso in tailoring its technology to maintain the culinary integrity of the brand.

"Everyone loves finding a chip with a little more salt or an extra hint of lime," said Nevielle Panthaky, Vice President of Culinary, Chipotle. "To ensure we didn't lose the humanity behind our culinary experience, we trained Chippy extensively to ensure the output mirrored our current product, delivering some subtle variations in flavor that our guests expect."

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Chippy miso robotics

"When Chipotle challenged us to see if our technology could meet the brand's high standards for culinary quality, we couldn't wait to flex our engineering and design muscles," said Mike Bell, CEO, Miso Robotics. "This partnership will allow us to move into new territory to help improve back-of-house functions and assist team members with their day-to-day responsibilities."  

An innovator in restaurant technology, Chipotle continues to invest in emerging solutions to support its growing digital business and reduce friction in its restaurants. The company believes technology deployed consistently and correctly can improve the human experience. Chipotle already leverages artificial intelligence with its concierge chat bot, Pepper. Pepper ensures guests have an exceptional experience on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com. Chipotle customers can select from frequently asked questions or ask their own questions to get a response quickly. Chippy joins Pepper in Chipotle's artificial intelligence suite to improve Chipotle's overall guest and employee experience.

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