AI takes over the kitchen: CaliExpress opens in Pasadena

CaliExpress is a restaurant completely managed by artificial intelligence, with ordering and cooking processes automated also through facial recognition

In Pasadena, California, a new chapter for the culinary world is being written with the opening of CaliExpress, the first entirely AI-operated restaurant. This venture introduces a unique dining experience where ordering and cooking processes are automated, significantly minimizing human involvement.

This cutting-edge establishment is the fruit of a collaboration between Miso Robotics, the creator of Flippy, the world’s first frying robot powered by AI, and PopID, a company specializing in facial recognition to streamline the ordering process.

The use of state-of-the-art technology allows the restaurant to operate efficiently and smoothly. With Flippy capable of frying up to 249 lbs of french fries per hour and the grill robot managing to cook about 100 meatballs in the same timeframe, efficiency is at the heart of CaliExpress.

Moreover, automation extends beyond the kitchen. The ordering system, powered by AI and supported by PopID, employs facial recognition to track food preferences and manage payments, offering a seamless experience to customers.

Humans still play a role

Despite the high-tech setup, CaliExpress maintains a human element, with several employees present to ensure service quality and add that essential human touch to the dining experience.

However, beyond the initial “wow factor,” the adoption of advanced automation raises significant socio-economic concerns. On one hand, integrating technologies like AI and robotics could reduce reliance on human workers and deliver unprecedented efficiency; on the other, there’s the risk of reduced employment in the restaurant sector.

Addressing these concerns, CaliExpress’s owner, Vic Aulakh, emphasized that the introduction of such technologies not only creates new job opportunities in the tech sector but can also enhance the overall customer experience.

Recent studies suggest that AI might replace only a small fraction of jobs in the restaurant industry, indicating that the impact might be less dramatic than feared. Nonetheless, CaliExpress stands as a pioneering example of how AI and robotics are transforming the dining sector.

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