Chipotle's New Tortilla Chip Robot May Soon Be Behind The Counter

While the burritos, bowls, salads, and other entrees are the star of the customizable meals at Chipotle, customers know that the chips and any of the dips are just as good as the main dish. That might even be why Chipotle shared some of its top recipes with fans during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (via Today). And of course the technique and ingredients used to make the signature tortilla chips are just as simple and pure as everything else at Chipotle. The chips are simply fried corn tortillas tossed and topped with fresh lime juice and salt. But now that people have returned to dining out, Chipotle is considering a new staff addition that could be a major game-changer: Chippy. 

According to CNBC, "Chippy" is an autonomous kitchen aide that the fast casual chain is trying out. Ultimately, the goal is to make working in the kitchen easier and more seamless for employees. The robotic assistant would be responsible for frying up Chipotle's signature chips with a hint of lime and salt, which would free up employees to perform other tasks. 

This is how Chipotle decided to test out Chippy

According to CNBC, Chipotle had given thought to working with Miso Robotics (who previously created the hamburger-cooking Flippy) to tailor the company's newest device to make their signature chips. "We asked our team members if we could find a better mousetrap for anything in the restaurant, and what that would be, and up at the top of the list was a better way to make chips," Chipotle CEO Curt Garner told CNBC. 

Using artificial intelligence, the device was able to learn the recipe and is being tested at Chipotle's headquarters. "This brand is crazy about freshness and their ethos is that everything's got to be made really well," Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell told CNBC. "We've had their culinary team to our facility, doing blind taste testing ... getting high marks and getting past that team was a really big pressure for us."

Despite Miso Robotics fees running up to $3,000 per month, Chipotle hopes to test out Chippy on location in a Southern California Chipotle later this year.