LOS ANGELES – Flippy, the burger flipping robot, has a new gig cooking fried chicken tenders and tater tots at Dodger Stadium.
The robot debuted earlier this year at a Pasadena, California, burger restaurant, only to get stage fright from the rush of customers. It has since been retooled and is now working full time, processing "thousands" of burgers daily, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to the robot's creator, David Zito, CEO of Miso Robotics.
Now, Flippy is set to debut at the Stadium, which attracts as many as 50,000 customers daily, in mid-August.
"Flippy is being called to the majors," Zito says.
Flippy will work alongside stadium employees in August to "assist with consistently cooking and quickly serving" food to sports fans, Zito says.
"We're all for advances that help with quality and speed of service for our fans," Dodgers Chief Financial Officer Tucker Kain said.
Zito insists the robot is ready for the crush of the crowds. He notes that Flippy has expanded from just being in operation during the lunch hours to working full time at Caliburger in Pasadena.
The robot can automatically detect the temperatures across the fryer, monitor the cooking process in real-time and also display the cooking time on a screen, according to Miso Robotics. This alerts stadium employees when each basket of chicken and tater tots is ready to be manually temperature-checked and served.
Miso, the Dodgers and the staff at Levy Restaurants, which operates fast-food concessions at the stadium, have been training employees on how to work with Flippy.
Zito says having Flippy in the hot fast-food kitchens will improve conditions for stadium employees by passing off some of the grunt work to the robot, which is programmed to never take a break, get a sick day or a day off.
But some economists predict some loss of food retail jobs, one of the fastest growing areas of the economy, as robots make inroads into fast food.
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