As order kiosks replace cashiers in McDonald’s and other “Fight for $15” fast-food restaurants, a restaurant startup that’s opening in San Francisco next week will feature what would be a milestone in the history of food service (and also the latest sign that robots are about to take over far more fast-food jobs): On June 27, the restaurant will become the first to serve burgers cooked and assembled by a robot. According to Bloomberg, the burger will be assembled and cooked in a machine that contains 20 computers, 350 sensors, and 50 actuator mechanisms – and zero human interference, other than having somebody present to hand the finished burger to customers.
The company, called Creator, was founded by entrepreneur Alex Vardakostas in 2012. The 33-year-old has had experiencing working in burger restaurants since he was young; growing up in Southern California, his family owned the A’s Burgers chain, as well as several other restaurants. Building a robot to build a more efficient burger has always been a source of fascination for Vardakostas, who started construction of what he calls “the burger robot” in his parent’s garage back in 2010. Since then, he has been working to assemble a dream team of engineers, robotics experts and chefs to help him finish the machine and round out the concept. He’s also raised at least $18 million in venture funding from Google ventures and other sources.
Building the burger robot was always something Vardakostas has always wanted to do.
“When you make 400 of the same burger every day, you can’t help but think, ‘How would I make this experience better?'” he said.