BOSTON – Dexai Robotics working to create robots for the food industry, and the company’s first product is "Alfred," a machine that automates food assembly using regular utensils to scoop and mix ingredients, according to Americaninno.com.
Alfred is a plug-and-play solution for restaurants with food counters like Chipotle or Sweetgreen. Alfred is a collaborative robot or ‘cobot’ trained as a sous-chef to assist in restaurant kitchens. He can prepare salads, guacamole and other dishes or serve ice cream without altering an existing restaurant's layout or recipes.
Alfred’s creators want to increase assembly line productivity at QSRs and hope the public will consider Alfred just another useful kitchen appliance.
“Think of it as the next microwave,” said Anthony Tayoun, co-founder and CFO of Dexai. “There is no reason for humans to do mechanical tasks anymore.”
Alfred can assemble food while properly handling utensils, including ladles, tongs, spoons and dishes, but his greatest talent is working with “deformable” materials that change shape as you interact with them, such as ice cream and avocados.
Tayoun admits that deformable materials are notoriously hard to work with. “Every carrot is different, for example. Humans intuitively know how to handle it, but robots don’t,” he said.
Dexai Robotics creates the software that makes Alfred an efficient employee when working under the guidance of a human chef, and the company is talking with various QSRs about his potential.
Currently, the company is toying with different business models, but the most popular one is an output-based payment system where Alfred gets compensated for the number of bowls he makes. It’s a competitive way to encourage restaurants to adopt automation, paying only for what they use. Dexai executives estimate that four Alfreds can assemble about 200 bowls in an hour.
Tayoun also believes under this business model, using Alfred would be about three times cheaper for 30%-40% increased productivity since the restaurant would save on labor costs like hiring and training.