Flippy the Robotic Kitchen Assistant Works for $3 an Hour
Many fear the day when robots will replace humans. It’s difficult to believe, but Flippy, the robot that’s purpose-built to work in fast food kitchens, has been on work for almost three years now. And it sounds like you’re going to begin seeing Flippy in many more restaurants in a little while.
That’s because the cost to construct the robots has dropped. When Miso Robotics set out to manufacture their first units, off-the-shelf robotic arms sold for more than $100,000. Today, they’re going for around $10,000 according to Sam Dean of the LA Times.
With the company’s cost to make Flippy dropping so dramatically, Miso is now proposing the robots on a subscription plan. For only $2,000 a month, restaurateurs can add one to manage the operation of the grill or fryer.
Divide that cost over the operating hours of a usual fast food joint and employers are looking at a trivial $3 an hour to “hire” Flippy. As tempting as that price tag is, there’s more to it than only saving a few bucks.
The fast-food industry has always had a hard time holding kitchen staff, and there’s a huge shortage of workers right now. Dean notes that there were more than 800,000 openings at the end of last year.
$2,000 a month to assure that a station is “manned” should make Flippy subscriptions a no-brainer for any reasonably successful restaurant that’s had to struggle to keep the kitchen running smoothly. Since Flippy is rated for 100,000 hours of nonstop operation, blown shifts won’t be a problem — nor will on-the-the-job injuries.
There’s another reason you might be seeing more of Flippy in the nearby future. As you can see, a two-Flippy unit takes up a good amount of floor space. That’s why Miso is presently working on a new version that fits to rails on the ceiling, which will free up needed floor space in smaller kitchens.