Flippy the Burger-Making Robot was Fired After Just One Day at Work

Flippy the robot has been asked to temporarily step aside while his management team can re-train his co-workers to help him become more efficient.
Jessica Miley
Flippy the robot is temporarily out of action.Misorobotics

Flippy, the burger-flipping robot has been fired from his job, just one day after starting. Flippy was ‘hired’ by Pasadena Caliburger, with the KPI of cooking 150 burgers an hour.

Unfortunately, the task proved too much for the robot who appears to have given up. At the time of hiring, the CEO of Cali Group the company that runs the burger chain was reported as saying, "The key to success in the restaurant industry is consistency. So anytime you go to a CaliBurger anywhere you know that the patty will be cooked exactly the same.”

Flippy will make a comeback

But it doesn't seem to have worked out. Flippy was developed by Miso Robotics and is actually like a giant robot arm rather than a cute humanoid burger maker.

Flippy used thermal imaging, 3D, and camera vision to sense when to flip the burgers - and when to remove. "It detects the temperature of the patty, the size of the patty and the temperature of the grill surface," explained David Zito, co-founder and chief executive officer of Miso Robotics.

This isn’t the end of Flippy. Restaurant owners told the Washington Post that they decided they needed to re-train staff to work more collaboratively with Flippy to keep up with the demand. “Mostly it’s the timing,” Anthony Lomelino, the Chief Technology Officer for Cali Group told the WP.

“When you’re in the back, working with people, you talk to each other. With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule. Choreographing the movements of what you do, when and how you do it.”

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Flippy is already working closely with his human colleagues, while he can flip burgers he still needs help placing the burgers on the grill and his team-mates are in charge of adding cheese and other condiments. While Flippy, who is touted by its inventors as the “world's first” burger flipping robot” is just getting used to the job, the future of fast food is likely to involve more robots.

For restaurant owners, robots could be one solution to high staff turnover. Statistics suggest that 50 percent of restaurant staff may leave within one year, causing the food and beverage industry to spend Roughly $3.4 billion annually in recruiting and training.


As well as being reliable workers, robots won’t get injured or tired while on the job. They could also go somewhat to reducing the violence that is reported in the restaurant industry.

According to a survey by Hart Research Associates, about one in eight workers in 2015 reported being assaulted at their fast-food jobs during the previous year. Although, Flippy and other robots like them, raise the question of how much of the job market will be lost to these types of technologies.

Robots will be the future of Food

It is estimated that about 80 percent of job losses in American manufacturing over the past 30 year was a result of technological displacement. It is likely that this trend will spread to other industries.

But is it all doom and gloom? Experts agree that the ‘robot takeover’ is inevitable but should be welcomed as an opportunity to upskill workers and retrain people into more technical jobs, let the robots take over the dangerous and dirty work.


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