Where Human Touch Meets Robotic Precisionhttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/SpyceRestaurant.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
This year has been all about the emergence of restaurant automation, but industry experts and influencers alike think 2019 will be about a return to the human element. Boston-based brand Spyce is bridging the two aspects to create a cutting-edge culinary experience.
Frustrated with the lack of affordable, wholesome food options, four MIT students set out to engineer a concept that would deliver amazing meals efficiently. Built in the basement of their fraternity, the original prototype was designed to eliminate the monotonous aspects of food preparation.
After working out the made-to-order wok mechanics there was still one aspect missing, none of the founders had any culinary expertise. Rather than posting for the position, they made a bold move and emailed world-renowned, French chef Daniel Boulud. Intrigued by the concept he not only decided to personally invest but also accepted their offer to become the restaurant’s Culinary Director to provide menu direction and help train the staff.
Designated as the world’s first robotic kitchen, the fast-casual concept, which opened earlier this year, now serves a selection of international inspired bowls in three minutes or less. Customers can choose a variety of combinations from rice and grains, to curries, salads, stir-frys, pasta and noodles with vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free options.
When customers arrive they place their order at kiosk and then it’s sent to the back where the magic happens. Accessing food hoppers loaded with prepped ingredients, a robotic runner picks up the ingredients you selected. The precisely measured portions are then deposited into a rotating wok that uses induction heat and temperature control.
Above each wok a digital screen communicates to the customer the throughout the process of cooking: “Now cooking Korean bowl for Amanda,” “Amanda we’re completing cooking,” “Ready to plate.” After the food is cooked the wok tips down to plate the food in a disposable bowl. From there, the “Garde Mangers” put on the final touches from a table of garnishes stocked with chopped cilantro, toasted almonds, avocado crema, and tamarind-date chutney.
And if the cooking process wasn’t impressive enough, even the cleanup is efficient. The machine automatically cleans and sanitizes the woks after every meal, removing the laborious part of dish duty and allowing the woks to always be in action. With the capabilities to make up to 150 meals in an hour, you could only imagine the sink pile up that would create otherwise.
While a relatively new concept, the restaurant is creating industry buzz and the founders are earning recognition. Most recently the four: Michael Farid, Kale Rogers, Luke Schlueter, and Brady Knight, were named to Forbes 30 under 30 list honoring innovators and entrepreneurs.
As restaurateurs look to embrace robotics within the food service space, it’ll be important to manage the balance between human touch and technology. Spyce’s semi-autonomous concept removes the operational pain points and puts the focus on delivering the best possible customer experience.