The Robot You Probably Want

The Lempert Report
May 24, 2017

I love robots, and the idea that we will have one or more to help out in our kitchens isn’t that far away.

Many of us grew up watching Rosie, George and Judy Jetson’s robot maid prepare their family dinners and do the clean up afterward. 

TechCruch reported on Chowbotics’ recent $5 million in venture funding to roll out Sally – its salad making robot. The company’s video shows a countertop machine that contains 20 canisters loaded with precut ingredients to select from. These 20 offer over 1,000 different combinations. The touch screen shows the ingredients and adds up calorie count as you select each ingredient. 

Restaurants and offices have already signed up – but one is important for us to note. H-E-B is installing one in their corporate cafeteria. No doubt if successful we could see more rolling out in H-E-B’s stores and other supermarkets. 

What I like about Sally is that not only does it take up a lot less space than the typical salad bar, but it also dramatically improves the food safety nightmare that many operators worry about. And then there is the human factor – you know – those people that use the same tongs or spoons in many different ingredients, or worse – the person who decides they really want a tomato and just pick one up with their hands and pop in their mouths. 

The one change I would like to see in this unit is a see through façade so customers can see their salad ingredients as well as the photo on the touch screen. Sally costs $30,000 – much more than that salad bar, and you still have to add all those chopped and diced ingredients…