Miso Robotics, a robotics and automation startup specializing in the foodservice industry, is partnering with Lancer Worldwide, a beverage dispenser manufacturer which works with the world’s top food and beverage brands, to build “an intelligence-backed, automated beverage dispenser that will bring enhanced functionality for a future-focused commercial kitchen”, according to the companies.
At a time when the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry is facing record labor shortages, operators are looking for ways to streamline operations, cut costs and implement solutions that drive a better and faster customer service experience. The pandemic drastically shifted the paradigm, creating new models for operator revenue streams that relied on drive-thru, takeout and delivery more so than ever before.
While 60 to 70 percent of certain QSR sales came from the drive-thru lane pre-pandemic, as Covid spread, major QSRs experienced a jump as high as 90 percent.1 Yet, the new delivery and drive-thru model have made the always-critical need of speed and efficiency an even bigger challenge as volume increases and staff decreases have added minutes to the clock for order completion. Because of this, total average drive-thru times slowed down by 29.8 seconds last year.
Savvy operators are warming up to the power of automation and robotics to accelerate recovery and meet demand. Miso Robotics has been leading the field in commercial kitchen automation through a robot-as-a-service (RaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that began with Flippy and has since branched out to CookRight.
While these two flagship products focus on food specifically, implementation success has proven broader back of house tasks can benefit from intelligent operational efficiency. Miso Robotics and Lancer saw the need for beverage automation in the commercial kitchen – an area of order completion that has long been plagued with inefficiency as workers look to navigate compact, fast paced kitchens and unpredictable order volume during shifts.
Jake Brewer, chief strategy officer of Miso Robotics, says: “Lancer has consistently supplied the market with dependable products for more than 50 years and there was no question when it came time to decide who to partner with to create an automated beverage dispenser.
“Lancer has a legacy of stand-out industry quality and shares in our vision for beverage innovation and futuristic design. Order fulfillment is a major factor for customer satisfaction and operators can’t afford to have a beverage left behind when a delivery driver or customer visits. We are extremely excited to create a product that will not only make the lives of those working in commercial kitchens better, but will be a game changer for the industry as a whole to deliver a world-class customer experience.”
The new automated beverage dispenser will integrate with the point of sales (POS) system and come equipped with a guided workflow for employees to ensure accurate order completion synced with driver and customer arrival times.
The machine will be able to automatically pour drinks and advance beverages to enable an easy grab-and-go format for staff. When an order comes in, the connected approach will allow the beverage dispenser to “know” the beverage needs associated with the order and will automatically issue the appropriate sized cup, begin pouring and seal the drink. The entire process is timed to complete as close as possible with the time the meal/remainder of the order is ready for hand off to the customer or delivery driver.
Brad Davis, director of Applied Technologies for Lancer Worldwide, says: “Lancer has always stood out as a trusted global beverage dispenser manufacturer because we put our customer and partner needs at the forefront of every project we undertake.
“The quick service brands we work with every day are well aware of what their challenges are – they know they need more efficiency, and they know there is new technology out there that could make it possible. Miso Robotics will help us bring all the right pieces together for an innovative design that makes automation, connectivity, and intelligence possible for operators. We are excited to collaborate with them to bring this concept to life, and into the hands of operators around the world.”
Meanwhile, Miso Robotics has also opened its Series D funding round and is inviting investors to join in.
The company says the need for new technology to enter the back of house has “quickly become a business imperative for quick service brands”.
As a result, interest in Miso Robotics has “continued to surge”, says Miso. The company was able to able to raise over $25 million in crowdfunding during their Series C, which recently closed.
On the heels of this partnership, the company is announcing the open of their Series D round raise – which kicks off with a market valuation of $350 million, which is a $270 million increase since their $80 million Series C open.
To invest in Miso Robotics’ Series D, visit the company’s website.