Burger Bot: San Francisco restaurant automates creation of American classic
Robots and automation have made inroads in the food industry. And now, they're taking on perhaps America's most popular food - the hamburger. Mark Niu has the details.
At San Francisco's Creator restaurant Creator, big lunch crowds line up to taste a burger made by a one-of-a-kind chef. The bun is sliced and toasted as it slowly makes a precisely-timed journey, before sauces drip onto the bread. Then come the vegetables-fresh pickles, tomatoes, onions and lettuce are all sliced crisp to order.
The robotic system then sprinkles fresh grated cheese and seasonings on top. During this time, the system has been grinding, shaping and cooking the patty, which it delivers into a box.
Not a single human hand has touched the gourmet burger until it's served fresh and hot to the customer.
"I'm super impressed. It's like seeing all the mechanism of it moving down the conveyor belt. It's not just a simple little conveyor belt that you see. I think it's really awesome."
MARK NIU SAN FRANCISCO "These aren't just ordinary burgers. For example, this one, the Mission Street Food Burger was designed with the help of a local chef Anthony Mynt. It's got some pretty fancy ingredients too like black sesame seeds, charred scallion garum. Let's give it a try."
My burger's certainly got unique flavors and many customers like these guys have come back for more numerous times.
"I don't know man, I think this is better than a human-made burger. I've had a lot of human-made burgers. And they just season the meat a lot better than a lot of other restaurants."
Customer Lei Zhu thinks the burgers are about the same quality as other restaurants but more affordable since it saves money on labor.
LEI ZHU CUSTOMER "Right, the price is good though. Six dollars for a burger that's really good. We could make burgers automated, we could probably make like packaging and other services automated as well."
Customer Francis Basbas is curious about the blend of human and robotic labor. He's actually a former cook who says he left the food industry, because it was a tiring job with poor benefits.
FRANCIS BASBAS CUSTOMER "It's a good place to have just to see how efficient. I think when you are stacked up with the best, you want to do your best. You see robots doing it under like four minutes, you want to be a better cook right. It's an uncertain, but delicious future."
Currently, Creator is only open during lunch hours three days a week - as the restaurant continues to fine tune the experience based on customer feedback on the new chef in town. Mark Niu, CGTN, San Francisco.