Sep, 2021 - By SMI
Sweetgreen seeks to implement Spyce's technology into its hotels in the future. It will take some time to scale order to meet the expectations of the chain, which continues to operate over 120 places across the U.S.
Sweetgreen, a California-based fast-casual salad chain, has signed agreements and plans to go all on automation by acquiring a kitchen robotics startup, Spyce. Sweetgreen has not disclosed the terms as well as the amount of the deal. The pandemic, like so many other aspects of the robotics world, has sparked a surge in interest in the automated kitchen. After all, the food and restaurant industry were considered essential during the global closures, but many people had trouble finding kitchen staff, pretty early on but there were still questions about COVID spread.
Spyce, a Boston-based startup founded in 2015, first attracted attention a few years ago as a spinoff of MIT mechanical engineering students. The team began by serving food in the school's dining hall and eventually opened two automated restaurants in Boston city. In 2018, Maveron, Khosla Ventures, and chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller have invested $21 million in Spyce in a Series A round.
Spyce's two Boston locations use a robotic system to prepare fast-casual grain bowls and salads. Ingredients cooked at various temperatures are slipped into a bowl via a sequence of funnels as it passes along a conveyor belt. Hot steamers cook grains that can be used as a base, while ingredients such as proteins are caramelized on hot plates and then tossed in. The firm also developed its delivery system. It employs a couple of drivers to transport food throughout the Boston city in custom-designed carriers with different containers to keep foods at the proper temperature. Because of its automated cooking system, the company employs fewer staff in the kitchen. Those wages are instead allocated to delivery workers.
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