The robotics industry is always diversifying. Robots are no longer exclusively designed for industrial applications or warehouses. A startup called DaVinci Kitchen believes that they should be making spaghetti.
The Leipzig, Germany-based firm is working to launch a modular robotic kiosk that autonomously prepares Italian-themed pasta dishes. Amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, robots have had a chance to shine. Although robotic chefs are futuristic, they could be a useful innovation in today’s challenging times.
It’s no secret that everyone needs to eat. With that in mind, there will always be demand for food service. Even in the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic restaurants were open for takeout and delivery. With robots working in the kitchen, restaurants could realistically stay open around the clock regardless of what’s going on in the world.
DaVinci’s first robot is designed to cook perfect pasta dishes. The allure here is that pasta is relatively simple to make but appeals to a wide audience.
In about six minutes, the robot creates, cooks, and serves the entire dish. It can also prepare two meals simultaneously. Best yet, the robot even cleans the dishes.
Although DaVinci is focusing on pasta right nowt, the startup also has its sights set on other foods. The system it is developing is modular, making it possible to swap equipment to prepare different dishes. Things like salads, stir fry, or tacos could all be on the menu.
So far, DaVinci has raised $780,000 in a seed round thanks in part to Apetito, one of the startup’s first clients. It is now in the process of raising additional funding with a Series A round, DaVinci has its sights set on $1.7 million.
The startup is on track to deliver its first operational kiosks late this year or in early 2021. The exact timing will depend on the severity of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DaVinci will target both traditional restaurants and food courts as clients for its kiosks. While it’s a bit more difficult to see restaurants adopting a sizeable robot to make a few dishes, the concept could be a hit in food courts. Imagine walking through the mall and stopping for lunch made by a robot. Not only would the kiosk negate the need for employees, it would also attract customers with its sheer novelty.
DaVinci’s chief technology officer Ibrahim Elfaramawy says, “Everyone has to eat. We see our clients struggling to find qualified personnel. The jobs are getting tougher, the pay is not increasing, unfortunately.”
He adds, “A lot of restaurant owners are looking for solutions to increase their capabilities and quality. Robots can work 24/7. This is the opportunity that we see and many of our clients are excited about it.”
The food world continues to shift in today’s high-tech era. From farm to table, robots are becoming increasingly intertwined with our meals. Autonomous harvesting bots pick food from the fields while robot chefs prepare it for humans to eat.
It will be interesting to see how this sector performs moving forward and whether or not more startups are able to take advantage of the potential for growth.