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Diners use PopID biometrics to order cheeseburgers cooked by AI at new restaurant

Diners use PopID biometrics to order cheeseburgers cooked by AI at new restaurant

Automated fry cooks and robots flipping patties on the grill: this is the vision of a California company that will incorporate face biometrics from PopID into what a release calls “the world’s first fully autonomous restaurant,” CaliExpress by Flippy.

Flippy is the world’s first AI-powered robotic fry station, designed and built by Miso Robotics and already installed in major U.S. fast food chains such as Jack in the Box. Customers at the new Pasadena restaurant, which is owned and financed by the holding company Cali Group, will place their orders using biometric kiosks to check in via facial verification with their PopID account, then watch Flippy and his automated colleagues Sippy and Chippy prepare their food.

Add a “pseudo-museum experience” showcasing old parts from previous prototypes, and the result is a curiosity that its owners say is designed to attract local school groups and inspire “the next generation of kitchen AI and automation entrepreneurs.” The menu is limited to hamburgers, cheeseburgers and fries, but the company says the cost savings that automation brings will allow them to sell a premium wagyu beef blend at the cost of regular beef.

Automation brings efficiency in and out of the kitchen

One claim that should perhaps be taken with salt is that the frictionless and human-less fast-food experience is a boon for employees. “To our knowledge, this is the world’s first operating restaurant where both ordering and every single cooking process are fully automated,” says John Miller, CEO of PopID and a board member of Miso Robotics. Yet there is no clear explanation of how Flippy and friends will “create a safer, easier, and friendlier kitchen” for employees at risk of slippage or burns – particularly if the employees in question are not making food.

Instead, Rich Hull, CEO of Miso Robotics, says “AI-powered, robotic order-taking and cooking enables the major chains that feed America to substantially improve quality, consistency and speed.”

Efficiency in the kitchen is not the only use case for biometrics in the food service industry. PSSI, a major provider of food safety products and services for the North American restaurant industry, deploys face biometrics technology in its Asure time clocks, which according to a release compares employee biometrics with registered ID and with “all other biometric references in the entire database that have been stored and maintained in compliance with applicable law.” This measure aims to prevent workers from punching in with different identities elsewhere in the country, and to build accuracy into the dataset.

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