Chipotle Tests Food Automation Technology

QSR partnered with foodservice automation company Hyphen to test technology on the line.

October 03, 2023

Chipotle has partnered with Hyphen, a foodservice platform dedicated to automating kitchen operations, to automate making bowls and salads on the line.

The automation is initiated when an order comes through the digital ordering platforms; if a bowl or salad is in the order, those are routed to the Hyphen system during which it will construct the bowl by moving the container along the line and adding the ingredients. Upon completion, a team member adds a lid and any add-ons from the order. While Hyphen is making the bowls or salad, team members can complete the other parts of the order like burritos or quesadillas.

"Chipotle's new digital makeline built by Hyphen embodies our commitment to leveraging robotics to unlock the human potential of our workforce, ensuring an elevated dining experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, chief customer and technology officer. "Our goal is to have the automated digital makeline be the centerpiece of all our restaurants' digital kitchens." 

According to a company press release, “Approximately 65% of all Chipotle digital orders are bowls or salads, so the cobotic (collaborative robot) digital makeline has the potential to free up more time for employees to service the front makeline and deliver exceptional hospitality, while simultaneously increasing capacity for digital orders during peak periods.”

Chipotle’s investment in Hyphen is a part of the company’s $50 million venture to “elevate the human experience...and increase access and convenience for its guests.” Additional investments may include innovations in farming and supply chain, advanced robotics and alternative proteins.