Restaurant industry robotics is the integration of robots for full or partial automation of the restaurant industry value chain, from primary and secondary food processing to food preparation, as well as food service.
Restaurant robotics adoption increased during the Covid-19 pandemic:
CaliBurger expanded use of Miso Robotic’s Flippy to minimize or remove human staff from its restaurants
Goldilocks turned to DrinkBot to meet public health capacity restrictions
Bear Robotics established a South Korea manufacturing facility for its robot waiter
Chowbotics deployed 50 new Sally robots across hospitals in the US and Europe for healthcare workers who needed access to fresh food
Other companies used the pandemic to pivot into new or expanded business lines:
Dishcraft Robotics shifted its focus to containers and utensil cleaning as takeaway gained traction
Creator closed down its restaurant's dine-in facilities temporarily and focused on takeaway
Spyce laid off four staff in April 2020 but reopened as a more automated Spyce V2 in November 2020
There are four general categories of companies in the field of restaurant industry robotics, based on where the company operates in the industry value chain: primary food processing, secondary food processing, food preparation, and service.
A majority of the startups covered in the restaurant robotics industry emerged over the past five to seven years and are in the early stage of operations with none having reached the growth stage (as of August 2021). In terms of funding, Discraft Robotics leads with USD 45.2 million, while Miso Robotics follows closely with USD 43.8 million, as of August 2021. Other prominent players who have raised more than USD 25 million include Picnic, Bear Robotics, and Spyce.
Most of these disruptors operate in the kitchen automation space developing robots that prepare salads, burgers, pizzas, beverages etc. Moreover, companies including Picnic, Miso Robotics, and Nala Robotics develop robots that could prepare either multiple types of food or both food and beverages, featuring in multiple food preparation robot segments within the industry hub. Only a handful of startups—such as Bear Robotics and Dishcraft Robotics—focus on service automation such as dishwashing and waiting tables while Wilkinson Baking Company is the only startup catering to the food processing segment.
Ally Robotics—founded in 2022 and backed by kitchen automation company Miso Robotics—makes smart robotics arms pitched toward the restaurant and hospitality industries. The company claims its robotics arm is cost-effective, easy to use, and equipped with unique hardware, no-code software features, artificial intelligence (AI), deep reinforcement learning, and sensing control that enables it to understand the surrounding environment. Ally Robotics plans to extend the product offering to multiple industries such as agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.
Ally Robotics also has a partnership with Miso Robotics to supply its robotic arms for the latter’s burger-making robot product line “Flippy 2,” which could translate into USD 30 million in revenue for the company (as of May 2022).
In May 2022, Ally Robotics launched a crowdfunding campaign targeting USD 8.5 million in seed funding. The company intended to use the funds for product development and to support personnel and general expenses.
Primary and secondary food processing:
Pizza and burger preparation:
Salad and other food preparation:
Incumbents in this space are well-established technology companies that offer diversified robotics solutions with proprietary technologies for multiple industries such as automotive, food and oil and gas, and the semiconductor industry. Most are subsidiaries of Japan-based robotics giants and have strong distribution networks and offices in major locations around the world. Most of these companies focus on robotics solutions for primary and secondary food processing for restaurants, with some attention paid to the food preparation, and none offered to the service segment. Additionally, Little Caesars, a well-established pizza chain, entered the space with a patent for a pizza-assembly robotic system, while DoorDash and Costa Coffee entered the food preparation space via acquisitions. Kellogg’s is the only company to enter the industry via a partnership with a robotic company.
No investor data is available