Our adorably named robot pal Flippy is about to welcome a lot of siblings. One hundred of them, in fact. White Castle has announced that these automated fry-making machines will be installed in 100 additional locations beyond the one that’s already operating in Chicago. And a press release sent to The Takeout confirms that these aren’t just any old Flippys—we’re dealing with next-gen machines.
The shiny new Flippy 2 model is the latest version of the deep-frying robot. The Chicago pilot program apparently went well, and with some input from White Castle, Miso Robotics—the company responsible for bringing Flippy into the world—made some design adjustments for the next iteration of non-human fry cooks. One major improvement is the implementation of automated basket management, which wasn’t a feature in the previous model, according to a press release from late last year.
Flippy 2 uses a new system called AutoBin, which is dedicated to lower-volume specialty items like chicken tenders and onion rings. Once a product is placed in one of the bins, Flippy 2 identifies the product and cooks it off in the proper fry basket for that item, then dumps it in the holding area for hot food. The press release says that these upgrades make the cooking process 30% faster, bumping productivity up to around 60 baskets an hour, which is more output than even a busy quick-service restaurant might need. As much as I hate to say it, that’s impressive.
There’s no firm date on the Flippy 2 fleet’s rollout; the robots will be installed during the coming months and years, depending on location. One hundred stores is nothing to sneeze at, so if you’re at your local White Castle later this year, take a peek into the kitchen. Your delicious crinkle-cut fries might not have been prepared by human hands, but rather the deft hands (limbs?) of a robot. I wonder which tunes Flippy would select when it’s Flippy’s turn to choose the kitchen playlist. I’m guessing Computer Love by Kraftwerk would be on rotation.