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Mezli's robot chefs serve up affordable lunch bowls in San Francisco

A new San Francisco lunch spot offers Mediterranean-style bowls for just USD 6.99, prepared and served from a blue-and-white kiosk. Unlike other restaurants using robot chefs, Mezli has zero on-site humans. The entire process, from ordering to preparing to serving, is entirely automated.

How it works? Flesh-and-blood workers prepare ingredients in bulk at Mezli's central, off-site kitchen. The kiosk is then stocked with those grains, veggies, sauces and other elements, like a full mise en place for the robot workers.

Customers order from a touch screen — selecting either fixed menus or a build-your-own — and the robots get to work: custom-plating bowls, and heating and cooking as needed. They apply garnishes, sauces and toppings, after which the meal, sides and drinks are served through smart lockers.

A Mezli kiosk in blue and white, with a Mediterranean feel

Trend Bite

When robots appear in restaurant kitchens, the focus is often on their novelty and wow factor or the benefits of automation in a tight labor market. What's rarely mentioned is the potential for lowering consumer prices, which is one of the reasons Mezli's founders launched their robot-powered food kiosks.

Robots don't spell the end of human interaction in eateries. Implemented smartly, they present an opportunity to offer consumers affordable and healthy food with the convenience of contactless service. And a bit of that automagic, too ;-)

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Stijn Janssen