Customer Confusion Over The World's First AI-Powered Restaurant Is Finally Solved

Given the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years, it was only a matter of time before an AI restaurant opened its doors to the public. On December 5, 2023, Cali Group (a holding company), Miso Robotics (creator of Flippy, the world's first AI-powered robotic fry station), and PopID (a tech company using biometrics for ordering and payment systems) issued a joint press release announcing the planned opening of CaliExpress by Flippy in Pasadena, California. 

In the release, they called the venture "the world's first fully autonomous restaurant" where "both grill and fry stations are fully automated, powered by proprietary leading-edge artificial intelligence and robotics." The release noted that the restaurant planned to open in December 2023 through a reservation system, with a grand opening at a later date. Various news outlets reported on the restaurant's planned opening in December and early January. 

Despite CBS reporting on January 29, 2024, that the restaurant was "now open to customers," there was conflicting information online as to whether CaliExpress by Flippy was, in fact, open for business. We reached out to Cali Group and have received word on the situation from Alana Abbitt, Vice President of Product Development at Miso Robotics. She stated: "CaliExpress is not yet open to the public. It has been open for private tours that have been scheduled through our team. We do not have a scheduled launch date at the moment, but should open shortly." 

There was a lot of online confusion over the restaurant's status

There has been plenty of conflicting information online when it comes to CaliExpress by Flippy's operation status. Google currently lists the restaurant as "temporarily closed," while Yelp lists it as open. Although there are already reviews of the restaurant's food on both Google and Yelp, most are short and light on details, which calls into question whether they are real reviews (as some other reviews also point out). 

Only Google reviewer Jonathan Cheng discussed the restaurant in any detail and provided videos and photos from the interior and exterior of the restaurant — along with a snap of its burgers and fries — but he noted that his visit had been part of a private testing, which tracks with the information we received from Alana Abbitt. The majority of the reviews online are from disappointed people who had tried to visit the restaurant in December, January, and February only to find that it was closed. An image posted by reviewer Brian Bock in February 2024 shows a sign on the front door stating: "Opening in a Few Weeks Thanks For Your Patience." 

Reviewer Shinji Nakamoto on Google claimed that the restaurant was waiting for permits and hopes to open in mid to late February, though it's not clear where they received that information. There is currently no phone number listed for the restaurant to call and check and none of the links or social media accounts from the company's website are functional. Those who are interested in visiting the world's first AI restaurant should probably wait until there's official word from the company that they have opened to the public.