While vending machines can dispense hot food items, RoboBurger is taking the concept one step further. This all-in-one fridge, griddle, and cleaning device will take your order, cook your burger from scratch, and deliver it in about seven minutes — all without a human to take your order, man the grill, or serve it to you.
"We're not here to really replace the service industry," CEO Audley Wilson said. "We really supplement needs, and we provide a hot, high-protein burger in places where no one else can. So it's not really here to replace the lunch rush. It's here to just get you a burger at convenient locations when you need it."
RoboBurger has been in development for 17 years. Its latest prototype has found a home in Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, N.J. The current burger uses a Pat LaFrieda beef patty and Martin's potato roll. It can dispense melted cheese, ketchup, or mustard on request. The device is certified by the NSF (formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation) in line with U.S. food safety regulations.
Wilson sees it as an opportunity to help the service industry, which has been struggling with staffing issues since the pandemic began, as well as provide other higher-paying jobs in the area, including robotics-based jobs. In addition, it needs maintenance and operations staff to run the machines,
"We have our manufacturing arm which is based in Newark, and what we do is we build our units," he said. "We source locally, and we hire great employees here in the New York area and teach them how to build robots."
Operations teams are based around the country to service and resupply units in the region.
In the future, the company hopes to add more condiments as well as other kinds of proteins, including plant-based meat and chicken burgers. It is aiming for 100 units in use by the end of the year, expanding to thousands starting in 2023.
"We really hope to be one of the largest burger chains in the country," he said.