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Panera Bread tests automated coffee brewing with Miso Robotics


Miso Robotics CookRight Coffee System

Source: Miso Robotics

Panera Bread will be testing Miso Robotics’ automated coffee-brewing system, as part of its doubled down subscription service.

This is part of an overall shift in the restaurant industry towards automation, as more restaurants struggle to hire workers and wages rise. This is an example McDonald’sCalifornia Pizza Kitchen tested a robot that could automate the ordering of drive-thru meals, and is currently working on an automated system for taking orders.

Restaurant chains as well investors are now embracing Miso Robotics because of its automation potential. The last month saw record numbers. Chipotle Mexican GrillAnnouced it is testing a robot made by MisoThat makes tortilla chips. White Castle and Arby’s owner Inspire Brands were also among the startups’ fast-food partners.

Miso was founded in 2016 and has received more than $50 million of capital from venture capital firms, ordinary investors, restaurant chains, and other sources. It is in the middle its Series E round which valued the startup at 500 million.

Mike Bell, Miso Robotics CEO said that they have seen a growing tidal wave in demand. Bell claims that the greatest problem in the restaurant business is the labor gap. It is caused when restaurants have to hire more people than there are workers. Bell stated that the problem is not going away.

The CookRight Coffee System, Miso’s latest product launch, uses artificial intelligence to measure coffee temperature and volume. The system also offers predictive analytics, which can help restaurants determine what type of coffee their customers prefer and when. Bell stated that Miso charges its customers “a few hundreds dollars per month” for CookRight technology. However, Flippy is a startup and costs several thousand dollars each month.

Panera wants to provide more time for employees, like helping customers. They also want to ensure that coffee drinkers get the most out of every cup, even if they subscribe to Unlimited Sip Club.

George Hanson (Panera’s chief digital officer) stated that “we never saw it as a cost-savings or defense against the labour market at any time.”

Panera introduced the subscription coffee and tea program over two years ago after overhauling its coffee selection.Unlimited coffee and tea for just $8.99 per person per month Panera can use the low monthly fee to attract customers to their program and convince them to switch to a healthier breakfast.

Only two Panera coffee shops are currently testing CookRight Coffee. Hanson indicated that Panera will decide how fast and in what amount it wants to expand its presence over the next weeks. Panera controls nearly all of the U.S. cafés while franchisors manage 1,200 more.

Bell indicated that Miso believes that hundreds of restaurants of its partners will have CookRight technology in place by the end this year.

Hanson stated that Panera will continue to look for ways to automate its kitchen tasks if necessary, however he does not envision its restaurants being entirely managed by robots. Bell says it will be a matter if and when restaurants are automated.

Hanson explained, “Opportunistically we will look at things like this that can help our associates.” Although I see industry being very curious about it, in some cases, I’ve noticed that the price of labor can be a factor. That’s not what filters my thoughts.

JAB Holding is the parent company of Einstein Bros., and so this soup-and-sandwich chain doesn’t reveal how many Unlimited Members it holds. Panera however announced that it was launching the soup and sandwich chain in November. would go public again through an initial public offeringAfter securing investment from Danny Meyer, restaurateur, and his company for special purposes acquisitions.

Others have delayed their IPOs in recent months due to market volatility and inflation fears. Panera representatives declined to confirm if Panera has changed its plans.