Chipotle’s founder is in the process of launching a new startup that aims to offer plant-based sandwiches in eateries run by automated systems and minimal staff.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Steve Ells has scheduled the opening of a restaurant chain named “Kernel,” with the inaugural establishment anticipated to debut in Manhattan. There are also intentions to establish a minimum of twelve additional locations across New York within the next two years.
Every store will operate with a small staff of three individuals collaborating with robots to prepare a menu featuring items like plant-based burgers, imitation chicken sandwiches, salads, acai bowls, and sides, including cucumber dishes with wild rice. A typical meal at these establishments would include a veggie burger served on a toasted brioche bun with salsa verde and pickled onions, accompanied by crispy potatoes as a side dish.
In his conversation with The Wall Street Journal, Ells elucidated the operational process in his upcoming restaurants, emphasizing the significant role played by robots. When a customer places an order, it is transmitted to the kitchen, where a robotic arm handles the placement of pans filled with food in the oven. Simultaneously, a programmed toaster dispatches buns into the oven for heating, while conveyor belts transport dishes through the kitchen, as detailed by the publication. Afterward, staff members add the final touches to the dishes before packaging the food and depositing it in designated cubbies for customers to retrieve.
Fast food companies have been exploring the concept of incorporating robots as a strategy to reduce expenses in an industry dealing with rising food prices and increased minimum wages in different states. However, some companies have expressed challenges in recruiting and retaining staff.