I love burgers. Would I love them just the same if I bought one out of a robot vending machine? As long as it’s good, I’m not going to complain. A vending machine called RoboBurger was just launched at the Newport City Mall in Jersey City, New Jersey, and according to its creators, it’s the world’s first fully autonomous robot burger slinger. Digital Trend has the news.
Here’s a commercial for the RoboBurger, that shows its capabilities:
While the thumbnail for the video shows a fake robotic hand doling out the burger, don’t worry, there are no creepy robohands (that we know of) involved in the creation of the burger itself.
Basically, the gist is that the 12-square-foot vending machine griddles a four ounce frozen beef patty on the spot, puts your choices of ketchup, mustard, and liquid cheese on the bun, and assembles it for you in a box. Then the thing pushes the box into a little cubby, where you take it out and then dig in. The cooking process takes around seven minutes to complete, and the burgers are priced at $7, which I admit is more than I’d normally pay for a fast food burger, but I mean, then I’d get to go around shouting that a robot made my goddamn lunch. I like bragging about the weirdest things sometimes.
Yes, the machine cleans itself afterwards, too, but you can’t see the process, since the machine has no window peeking into its guts. You’ll just have to trust the robot line cook to do its job.
CNET went to visit and documented the experience on video:
The host, Bridget Carey, placed an order to see how the thing fared. It came out a bit of a mess due to the liquid cheese pouring off of it, but apparently it tasted better than it looked. Carey likens it to something she would “get at a barbecue at home or something.” Footage of the burger patty shows a dark crust on the outside, which I’m guessing gives the meat some contrasting texture.
What’s oddly compelling to me are the ingredients that go into it. The burger patty is from famed meat purveyor Pat La Frieda (based in New York), and the buns are Martin’s Potato Rolls, which are my favorite supermarket brand for soft and squishy bread that’s slightly sweet. A limiting factor is, however, which toppings are put on it at the time being; they all appear to be liquid-based, which I’m imagining is much more easy to dispense than a solid slice of cheese, pickles, or onion bits. I’m not as big of a liquid cheese-on-burgers person, but I’m willing to make my concessions.
When it comes down to it, I’d totally buy these things, are you kidding? The idea isn’t nearly as fun when you can’t see inside the vending machine (the company isn’t comfortable showing that part of the process, which is secretive), but it probably beats a dried out slice from Sbarro. RoboBurger’s aiming for installations in airports (we all know food options there are limited) and college campuses, which both make sense because people are looking for food on the run.
Automated food machines are already here, anyway. We’ve got Flippy (who’s had a rough first go of it), automated servers, food delivery robots, pizza machines, and more. So why not embrace a burger flipping vending machine? Its cold steel may not hug you back, but hopefully it puts out a mighty fine burger.