Jack In The Box Just Became The Latest Chain To Hire Robots

According to a recent press release, Jack in the Box is the latest fast food chain attempting to combat staffing issues by using robots in its restaurants. Specifically, Jack in the Box has teamed up with Miso Robotics, the same company that's behind recently-announced robotics projects that include White Castle's futuristic chefs, Panera's robotic coffee system, and Chipotle's tortilla chip robots.

Jack in the Box is currently testing two of Miso Robotics' models, Flippy 2, which operates deep fryers, and Sippy, which dispenses drinks. Per the press release, both Flippy 2 and Sippy employ "artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and data analytics" to make restaurant kitchens more efficient. According to Restaurant Dive, other restaurant chains that have begun using or testing robots in their facilities include Buffalo Wild Wings and Chik-Fil-A.

Currently, the robots are only being tested at one of the chain's San Diego locations, but the goal is to possibly expand the program to other restaurants, per the press release. During the trial period, Jack in the Box will see if the robots alleviate stress in the kitchen, allowing human employees to focus more on customers.

Why is Jack in the Box testing robots?

Considering the ongoing staffing issues at restaurants across the nation, several large companies have turned to robots to fulfill their labor shortages, but, per Insider, many have concerns about the long-term effects that automation may have on the human workforce.

However, according to the press release, Jack in the Box is hoping that its robots will support human staff members, not replace them. "This collaboration with Miso Robotics is a steppingstone for our back-of-house restaurant operations," said Jack in the Box COO Tony Darden. "We are confident that this technology will be a good fit to support our growing business needs with intentions of having a positive impact on our operations while promoting safety and comfort to our team members."

Ideally, as noted in the press release, the robots will help human staff members by relieving some of the kitchen's workload. This, in turn, would allow employees to focus on customer interactions and front-of-house operations. After all, if they can keep customers happy, they'll return, which helps overall business relations and profit.