Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Hyphen raises $24 million to commercialise automated kitchen system

Hyphen, an automation company that uses software and robotics to help improve efficiency and consistency in commercial kitchens, has raised $24 million in Series A financing led by Tiger Global, with participation from Steve Fredette, the co-founder and president of Toast, Inc.

Existing investors who also participated in this oversubscribed round include Marc Rowan, co-founder and CEO of Apollo Global Management; Donald Moore, former chief culinary officer and EVP at The Cheesecake Factory; and more.

Hyphen has raised $34.4 million to date and will use the funds to build out their factory, expand into new markets, invest in research and dvelopment for next-generation products, and deploy with customers across the United States.

With the new round of financing, Hyphen says it is “aggressively hiring designers, engineers, and operators to support their plans to scale to five markets this year and next”.

Stephen Klein, Hyphen’s CEO and co-founder, says: “We’re thrilled to bring on such a strong group of strategic investors to support our mission of putting commercial kitchens on autopilot.

“Razor-thin margins have plagued the restaurant industry for decades, but the pandemic exacerbated this with inefficient fulfillment of digital orders and a massive labor shortage.

“Hyphen solves this dilemma by automating the assembly process. Our Makeline automates the production of digital orders, and our KitchenOS augments labor with efficient workflows and actionable insights.”

As of mid-2021, there were 1.7 million job openings in the restaurant and accommodations sector – the highest number ever registered.

Experts are predicting that “industrialized countries will have more job openings than workers to fill them”. As millions of workers left the industry order inaccuracy increased by 22 percent.

With significant labor pressures continuing to impact the $1.6 trillion foodservice industry into 2022, restaurants and food providers are increasingly looking toward automation to help their businesses not only survive, but thrive.

Hyphen’s first product, The Makeline, automates the assembly of digital orders (delivery, takeout, drive-thru, QR code).

The Makeline is designed to be a one-to-one replacement of a restaurant’s existing makeline and doesn’t require retrofitting or plumbing which makes installation frictionless.

The Makeline produces 350 meals per hour and eliminates order defects without taking up an inch of extra space.

Hyphen’s KitchenOS leverages data from the fully-instrumented Makeline to provide actionable insights such as notifying line cooks about what food to prepare next and in what quantity, based on real-time ingredient levels.

Additional features include restaurant-specific customized workflows, unit-level performance, recipe development, and over-the-air menu updates.

In the past twelve months, Hyphen has tripled its number of customers, who have reserved hundreds of Makelines. At planned production capacity, Hyphen has sufficient demand for the next two years, and will begin taking new reservations later this year for deployments in 2024.

Griffin Schroeder, partner, Tiger Global, says: “Amid labor shortages and increasing customer demand for takeout and delivery, restaurants need ways to increase throughput and improve efficiency. Hyphen created an intuitive and reliable solution that does both.

“We’re excited to partner with Stephen, Daniel, and their team, to support restaurants across the country.”

Leave a Reply