Chipotle Mexican Grill has found a solution to relieve its employees’ hate for avocado preparation by introducing a cutting-edge robot to take over the job.
According to Curt Garner, Chief Customer and Technology Officer at Chipotle, avocado prep is one of the least favored responsibilities among their workers.
In an interview with SurgeZirc SA, Garner revealed that making guacamole typically consumes approximately 50 minutes of employee time.
However, with the introduction of the avocado-cutting robot, the company anticipates cutting the prep time in half.
While the newly-developed “Autocado” robot efficiently slices, cores, and peels avocados, employees at Chipotle will still be responsible for the essential tasks of hand-mashing the avocado and incorporating additional ingredients to create the delicious guacamole.
Garner expressed the company’s commitment to exploring collaborative robotics in order to enhance efficiency and alleviate the burdens on their employees.
Chipotle has recently introduced several initiatives aimed at improving their employees’ work experience, such as faster grills and streamlined processes for managing viral and complex orders frequently seen on TikTok.
The introduction of the Autocado robot could bring positive news for Chipotle employees who have been burdened with avocado prep duties.
Furthermore, this robotic innovation may help address the persistent labor shortages currently affecting the restaurant industry.
Chipotle is not the only brand seeking to integrate automated labor into its operations, as McDonald’s and Taco Bell are also testing AI-powered voice bots.
In fact, the 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry Report by the National Restaurant Association indicates that nearly 58% of restaurant operators expect an increased implementation of technology and automation to counter labor shortages this year.
In the past year, Chipotle initiated testing of Chippy, a chip-making robot designed specifically to create imperfect tortilla chips.
For this venture, Chipotle collaborated with Miso Robotics, the company responsible for the burger-flipping and wing-frying robots utilized by White Castle and Buffalo Wild Wings.
In the development of the Autocado robot, Chipotle partnered with Vebu Labs, a startup specializing in food industry robotics.
The robot is currently undergoing testing at Chipotle’s dedicated test kitchen in Irvine, California, before being deployed to its restaurants.
Chipotle has also made an investment in Vebu, as part of their $50 million Cultivate Next venture.
The company’s future investments may encompass innovations in farming, supply chain, and advanced robotics, as stated in a recent press release.