If Chipotle wasn't fast enough for you already, the popular restaurant chain is getting some help from a new robot.
The company has teamed up with Vebu Labs to develop its new "Autocado" machine, which is estimated to cut guacamole prep time in half. Here's how it works:
1. Avocados are loaded into the machine.
2. One at a time, they are vertically oriented and transferred into the processing phase.
3. The fruits are then cut, peeled, cored, and dropped into a steel bowl at the bottom of the device.
4. A Chipotle team member then adds additional ingredients and hand mashes the avocados the create the restaurant's signature guacamole.
On average, Chipotle says it takes about 50 minutes to make a batch of its infamous guac, but the Autocado machine is expected to cut that time down to about 25 minutes. The prototype is currently being tested at a Chipotle Cultivate Center in California.
"Our purpose as a robotic company is to leverage automation technology to give workers more flexibility in their day-to-day work," said Buck Jordan, CEO of Vebu. "Autocado has the potential to work alongside Chipotle crew members to create the same, delicious guacamole that Chipotle fans love but more efficiently than ever before."
In restaurants across the U.S., Canada and Europe, Chipotle expects to use about 4.5 million cases of avocados this year, equivalent to more than 100 million pounds of guacamole.
"We are committed to exploring collaborative robotics to drive efficiencies and ease pain points for our employees," said Curt Garner, chief customer and technology officer at Chipotle. "The intensive labor of cutting, coring, and scooping avocados could be relieved with Autocado, but we still maintain the essential culinary experience of hand mashing and hand preparing the guacamole to our exacting standards."
In addition to Autocado, Chipotle is also testing another autonomous kitchen assistant called "Chippy," which integrates culinary traditions with artificial intelligence to make tortilla chips at one Fountain Valley, California, location.
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