Chipotle is continuing its exploration of robots to enhance restaurant staff’s efficiency. The company has partnered with robotics firm Vebu to test a prototype robot called Autocado, designed for cutting, coring, and peeling avocados used in guacamole. Kitchen staff can load the robot with up to 25 pounds of ripe avocados and select the desired size. After processing, they retrieve the avocado in a bowl, add other ingredients, and begin mashing.
The implementation of Autocado is expected to reduce guacamole preparation time in half, a notable achievement since it typically takes 50 minutes to prepare a batch. This would ensure a consistent guacamole supply while reducing some of the repetitive tasks for employees. Chipotle believes the robot could also enhance efficiency in avocado processing, reducing food waste and related costs.
Autocado is currently undergoing testing at a center in Irvine, California. Chipotle and Vebu have described this as the beginning of a “long-term partnership,” with future efforts focused on collaborative robots aimed at improving worker efficiency and addressing their challenges. Last year, Chipotle began testing Miso Robotics’ Chippy robot to assist in making tortilla chips.
Chipotle is not the only restaurant exploring AI, robots, and automation to streamline their operations. These innovations are intended to enable employees to focus on customer service and other tasks where human workers excel. However, critics have expressed concerns that automation might lead to job losses, with some businesses opting to cut costs and reduce their workforce. While Autocado still requires human intervention, its long-term impact remains uncertain.