Robot soda jerk from company that brought you Flippy

From fry cook to fountains, automation is coming to fast food.

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Miso Robotics

Robots are coming for fast food, and Miso Robotics is angling to speed up adoption. The company behind the Flippy fry cook robot is moving into beverages with a robotic beverage dispenser, part of a new partnership to bring another robot to your local burger joint.

Miso Robotics and Lancer Worldwide, a global beverage dispenser manufacturer are rolling out what's described as an intelligence backed, automated beverage dispenser.

"Lancer has consistently supplied the market with dependable products for more than 50 years and there was no question when it came time to decide who to partner with to create an automated beverage dispenser," said Jake Brewer, Chief Strategy Officer of Miso Robotics.

Fast food, known more formally as the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry, has been booming during the pandemic as dine-in options closed or became less popular with diners. Labor shortages, along with rising wages in a strong labor market, have prompted restaurant operators to explore new efficiencies. 

That need is coinciding with the arrival of automation technologies in fast food. The pizza sector, interestingly, has been a hotbed of automation with operators like Little Caesars developing automation solutions. In the burger space, Miso has already made strides with its Flippy ROAR robot, an AI-enhanced robot that can cook several items to perfection. 

Automation, as it turns out, is perfect for the rising trend of drive-through service. While 60-70% of certain QSR sales came from the drive-thru lane pre-pandemic, as COVID spread, major QSRs experienced a jump as high as 90%, according to Miso. Delivery and drive-thru orders have increased the need for speed just as demand is booming, and restaurants are having trouble keeping pace. Total average drive-thru times slowed down by 29.8 seconds last year, according to Miso.

Miso Robotics and Lancer saw the need for beverage automation in the commercial kitchen.

"Order fulfillment is a major factor for customer satisfaction and operators can't afford to have a beverage left behind when a delivery driver or customer visits," says Brewer. "We are extremely excited to create a product that will not only make the lives of those working in commercial kitchens better, but will be a game changer for the industry as a whole to deliver a world-class customer experience."

The new automated beverage dispenser will automatically pour drinks and advance beverages to be grabbed by restaurant workers for order fulfillment. It integrates with the point of sales (POS) system and comes equipped with a guided workflow for employees to ensure accurate order completion synced with driver and customer arrival times. Efficiency of course drives the workflow and the entire process is timed to complete as close as possible with the time the meal order is ready for hand off to the customer or delivery driver.

"Lancer has always stood out as a trusted global beverage dispenser manufacturer because we put our customer and partner needs at the forefront of every project we undertake," said Brad Davis, Director of Applied Technologies for Lancer Worldwide. "The quick service brands we work with every day are well aware of what their challenges are – they know they need more efficiency, and they know there is new technology out there that could make it possible. Miso Robotics will help us bring all the right pieces together for an innovative design that makes automation, connectivity, and intelligence possible for operators. We are excited to collaborate with them to bring this concept to life, and into the hands of operators around the world."

Just more proof that the robots are coming. It all sounds pretty tasty.