What's Cooking? Robots in the Kitchen

Rosie Jetson may be the most famous fictional domestic and kitchen robot of all time, but her real-world counterparts are busy serving everything from chef-prepared meals to pizza and burgers at local restaurants. In fact, robots already have a hand in several areas of the food industry, from supply and delivery to cooking support in restaurant kitchens.

Here's an overview of some of the robots already hard at work across the food industry, from industrial kitchens to the in-home personal cooking robot.

Restaurant Robots

The robots working in the food industry are truly versatile and currently involved in everything from providing hospitality and front-of-house services to aiding their human counterparts in the prepping and cooking of meals. On top of improving speed and efficiency, they're also lowering costs and filling in gaps in the human labor force. Cooking robots in restaurant kitchens can improve safety, as well.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the food industry to adapt to new safety protocols, the role that robots can play in enhancing productivity and efficiency in the kitchen — from a business perspective — is becoming more and more apparent. According to Buck Jordan of Miso Robotics, "Since the pandemic, the potential for this technology and also the demand for it has increased exponentially."

Meet Flippy

What do you get when you combine AI with fast food prep? Well, what you won't get is undercooked burgers. Miso Robotics' Flippy and CookRight software provide human cooks the software they need to avoid common human errors like over- or under-cooking food, especially meat and poultry products that can make people sick.

Spyce Restaurant

Spyce restaurant is a fast, casual restaurant in Boston, Mass. with a fully robotic kitchen that prepares food in three minutes or less. Restaurant robots operate the automated kitchen except for one human known as the "garnish employee" who adds toppings to the dishes. Founded by a team of MIT engineers, Spyce's Culinary Director is Michelen-starred chef Daniel Boulud, who said, "I discovered that the robotic kitchen brings precision, consistency, taste, and also freshness to the preparation."


Known as the "burger bot," Creator is an AI system that handles everything from cooking the burgers and dispensing the buns to doling out the perfect amount of sauce and garnishes. Creator's founder, CEO of Momentum Machines Alex Vardakostas, grew up flipping burgers in his parents' restaurant. Rather than replacing human food service workers, his goal is to facilitate the repetitive tasks so his employees can work on more fulfilling and creatively rewarding tasks.

Paella Cooking Robot

The robotic paellero is actually a stove mounted robotic arm that does the heavy lifting — or rather stirring — involved in making a classic Spanish paella. While some chefs are up in arms over the prospect of being replaced by robotic arms, br5 (the company behind the design) founder Enrique Lillo broke it down for The Guardian.“At the end of the day, it’s an assistant. It’s elevating human capacity.”

Domestic Robot: The Future of Home Cooking?

Unlike restaurant-based robots, domestic robots are still in the development and ideation stages and not widely available for consumer purchase. Yet. But here are a few promising contenders on the horizon:

  • Samsung bot - AI powered robotic "arms" that can perform the basic functions of a sous chef in professional (human) chef run kitchens
  • Moley Robotics - Still in ideation stage, think of Moley as the "yacht" of home kitchen robots: sleek, expensive, and equipped with as many as 5,000 recipes and with the capacity to“cooks from scratch and even cleans up afterwards without complaint” according to its creators.
  • Oliver - Currently an Indiegogo campaign, with Oliver you do the chopping, prepping, and loading, and Oliver does the rest! (Not the dishes though!)
  • Gamma Chef - GammaChef is like a fully automated food processor - load the ingredients (anything from pasta to veggies and beef tips) - and GammaChef will do the rest. It cooks every ingredient at just the right temperature and duration for the perfect flavors and texture. Not currently available for consumer purchase; but it's OK to dream.

DIY Projects for Home Robots

Robot enthusiasts and builders eventually won't have to wait for the market to create the perfect home chef robot. There are several DIY cooking robot concepts in various stages of development for a future robot that might bake cupcakes, cook the perfect egg, or whip up a bowl of spaghetti:

  • Skyentific: DIY cupcake machine

  • James Bruton: Egg cooking robot

  • Louis Weisz: Slap cooking robot

  • Dave's Armour: Spaghetti cooking robot

  • Stephen Robinson: Cake baking robot

Some of these projects may still need refinement, or are simply funny concepts rather than actual ''cooking'' robots! Nevertheless, it's really interesting to watch these YouTubers' videos!

Are Robots the Future of the Food Industry?

It depends on who you ask. While some argue that the human experience and touch is a critical and irreplaceable element in cooking and enjoying a good meal, others see human/robotic kitchen partnerships as the wave of the future. As Jamie Richardson of White Castle said: "It's actually something we don't view as a replacement for workers. We look at it as an empowerment for the team because it helps us free up our heart for hospitality."

So what do you think? Are you ready for Rosie Jetson to prepare your meals? Want to try your hand at a DIY cooking robot? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or on the community site to stay up to date with the latest news in the field!

Picture Credit: Moley Robotics
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