Wing Zone bets on the fry cook robot


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It’s official: robots are here to stay. Another fast food restaurant has opted to place a robot chef in the back of the house, marking a quick and dramatic shift away from humans in fast food.

This week’s update comes via the Wing Zone, which offers made-to-order chicken wings. This chain is partnering with Miso Robotics to make Flippy 2 a part of their standard build for all future restaurant locations. This is significant because it goes far beyond the tests and test benches we have seen before, and suggests a much broader commitment to automatic fry cookers in the future.

“With over 100 new stores in our current development pipeline, our technology roadmap is largely based on strategic partnerships with companies like Miso, a pioneer in the field of food automation, who have the knowledge, data and the resources to design robotic solutions that maximize our efficiency and provide a better overall customer experience,” said David Bloom, director of development and operations for Wing Zone.

“Our industry is in dire need of automation, and we are more than ready to implement it at scale to continue growing our business,” he added.

One of the big draws for national brands at this early stage of adoption is Miso’s personalization strategy. The company recently partnered with Chipotle’s culinary team to replicate Chipotle’s exact recipe for cooking fries that are indistinguishable from their human-made counterparts.

The selling point is pretty straightforward: Miso’s robot can alleviate back-of-house inefficiencies while ensuring consistent quality and brand-specific customization. Fast casual concepts like White Castle, which is expanding its release of Flippy 2 to 100 locations, have bought into the ROI argument, particularly in a tight job market and rising wages. Fast food has done well during the pandemic and chains are looking to invest heavily in growth.

Miso’s journey, which we’ve covered since the company came out of stealth, has been fun to watch. The company ran a non-traditional crowdfunding campaign and is funded primarily by individual investors. It has over 15,000 shareholders and a whopping $50 million in crowdfunding to date. Its E round gives it a market valuation of $500 million.

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce a truly innovative partnership with Wing Zone to bring in-house automation to all of their future restaurants going forward,” said Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics. “No other brand has embraced automation to this extent, and we don’t take your trust in us lightly. We want to establish Wing Zone as the franchise of the future, and this is just the first step in doing that.”

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