Robots in the kitchen: Automation quickly creates an American classic

Global Business

Robots in the kitchen: Automation quickly creates an American classic

If you can’t stand the heat – get a robot to take your place in the kitchen. Robots and automation are making inroads in the food industry. In San Francisco, one restaurant is using automation to churn out an American favorite.

CGTN’s Mark Niu has the details.

At San Francisco’s Creator restaurant, big lunch crowds line up to taste a burger made by a one-of-a-kind chef.

A robotic system slices and toasts a bun, which then moves down a conveyor belt to be coated with sauce and topped with automatically sliced pickles, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. The robotic system then sprinkles fresh grated cheese and seasonings on top. While that’s happening, the system has been grinding, shaping and cooking the patty, which it delivers into a box.

Not a single human hand has touched the gourmet burger until it’s served fresh and hot to the customer.

“I’m super impressed,” said one customer. “It’s not just a simple little conveyor belt that you see. I think it’s really awesome.”

These aren’t just ordinary burgers. For example, the Mission Street Food Burger was designed with the help of a local chef Anthony Mynt, and includes fancy ingredients too like black sesame seeds and charred scallion garum.

One repeat customer said it’s better than a human-made burger.

“I’ve had a lot of human-made burgers. And they just season the meat a lot better than a lot of other restaurants,” he said.

Customer Lei Zhu thinks the burgers are about the same quality as other restaurants but more affordable since it saves money on labor.

“Six dollars for a burger that’s really good. We could make burgers automated, we could probably make like packaging and other services automated as well.”

Customer Francis Basbas is curious about the blend of human and robotic labor. He’s a former cook who said he left the food industry, because it was a tiring job with poor benefits.

“It’s a good place to have just to see how efficient,” said Basbas. “I think when you are stacked up with the best, you want to do your best. You see robots doing it under like four minutes, you want to be a better cook right? It’s an uncertain, but delicious future.”

Currently, Creator is only open during lunch hours three days a week – as the restaurant continues to fine tune the experience based on customer feedback on the new chef in town.