Last week, Inspire Brands and Miso Robotics announced Flippy Wings at the Inspire Innovation Center. Flippy Wings is a robotic chicken wing frying solution designed to help kitchen staff handle and cook chicken items more safely and efficiently by reducing the number of human touch points and ensuring the chicken is cooked to perfection. The robotic solution also allows restaurants to redeploy team members to more guest-facing functions, ultimately improving the guest experience, making kitchen operations more efficient.
The first Flippy Wings unit, dubbed “Wingy” by the kitchen team, is currently installed at the Innovation Center, where the robot is being tailored and tuned to specifications. Next, a Flippy Wings unit will be installed at the Alliance Kitchen to test it in a real cooking environment before eventually making its way to a standalone Buffalo Wild Wings location next year.
“Our strategy and our vision for automation at Inspire is really not about the labor shortage, it is all about how we increase our capacity,” said Stephanie Sentell, SVP of restaurant operations and innovation at Inspire Brands. “The automation that we are looking at will allow us to unlock that and provide faster food to our guests.”
Intelligent Automation like Flippy Wings is one of the many technologies being tested at the Inspire Innovation Center, a facility designed to invest in and test technology that streamlines operations, provides a better customer experience, and improves the viability of restaurants. The innovation center is constantly testing and fine-tuning technologies that alleviate industry challenges in the workplace, like staffing gaps, food quality and safety, and more.
“Technology is making a fundamental impact on the end-to-end restaurant operational model,” said Paul Brown, co-founder, and CEO of Inspire Brands. “Intelligent automation including AI and robotics will not only transform how we communicate with and take orders from our guests but also how we prepare and serve food to those guests. This transformation will ultimately result in improved efficiencies in our restaurants and an overall elevated experience for our guests and our team members.”
Inspire Brands has partnered with Miso Robotics to pursue technology leadership in the foodservice industry. Inspire fosters a culture where team members are encouraged to take risks, test, and learn. As a multi-brand restaurant company, technology must be capable of expanding across the portfolio. So, while other innovations in this space operate in a single brand environment, Inspire is architecting a platform with scalability in mind from the outset. Leveraging the brand portfolio and implementing technology solutions improves the customer journey, speed of service, accuracy, and scale.