Chipotle Has New Burrito Bowl Robot That Could Cut Down On Customer Hacks
The burrito bowl at Chipotle is the chain’s most popular menu item and they will soon be testing a new robot that will prepare the bowls and possibly eliminate customer “hacks” that allow them to get larger portions for the same price. The Makeline robot from technology startup Hyphen can build 120 to 180 bowls per hour while a human employee can only make 20 to 30. Hyphen’s cofounder and CTO Daniel Fukuba says the robot is “more consistent and accurate than a person normally would be going at the same speed.”
What this means for customers is that they won’t be able to ask for double portions, custom ingredients, or other “hacks” that they can get from a human employee. One of these hacks actually allowed a Chipotle customer to increase the size of his burrito by 86% for the same price.
Amber Simmons is a Chipotle employee who posts TikTok videos detailing her experiences and says that online orders may feel lighter because employees have to prepare a certain number of orders in a short time period. Currently, the robots are being tested for digital orders only but there may be new Chipotle stores in the future that service online orders only. She also says that robots would make it harder for customers to complain about their orders since they are programmed to serve the same portions in every bowl. If the digital-only stores with the Makeline robots succeed, it’s possible that human employees could be phased out completely but Chipotle and Hyphen spokespersons did not respond to a request for a comment to Business Insider.