Hamburger-flipping robotics company Miso introduces an automated beverage dispenser

How do you follow up a burger-flipping robot? If you’re Miso Robotics (which you likely are, if you’ve created a burger-flipping robot), the answer is simple: beverages. The robotics startup continues to focus on the fast food service industry with the planned launch of an automated beverage-dispensing robot.

The system, which is being created as part of a partnership with beverage dispenser manufacturer Lancer, brings an added level of automation to your standard fast food fountain. It has a point of sale system directly integrated, which kicks off the process of pouring, sealing and advancing the drink. Beyond that, it’s integrated with a larger sales system to ensure that it’s getting orders right, between in-person customers and delivery drivers.

Image Credits: Miso Robotics

Basically it’s a much smarter version of the fountain you encounter in every fast food restaurant and movie theater. Naturally, the company says that interest in the category has only increased amid labor shortages and a pandemic that froze much of the available workforce over the past year and a half.

“Lancer has a legacy of stand-out industry quality and shares in our vision for beverage innovation and futuristic design,” Miso Chief Strategy Officer Jake Brewer said in a press release tied to this morning’s news. “Order fulfillment is a major factor for customer satisfaction and operators can’t afford to have a beverage left behind when a delivery driver or customer visits. We are extremely excited to create a product that will not only make the lives of those working in commercial kitchens better, but will be a game changer for the industry as a whole to deliver a world-class customer experience.”

Image Credits: Miso Robotics

Speaking of striking while the iron is hot, the company is also using the opportunity to announce a planned Series D, following up on a recently closed $25 million Series C.

#beverages, #fast-food, #food, #lancer, #miso-robotics, #robotics

They hacked McDonald’s ice cream machines—and started a cold war

The lure of frozen deliciousness that led to uncovering insane techno craziness.

Enlarge / The lure of frozen deliciousness that led to uncovering insane techno craziness. (credit: NurPhoto | Getty Images)

Of all the mysteries and injustices of the McDonald’s ice cream machine, the one that Jeremy O’Sullivan insists you understand first is its secret passcode.

Press the cone icon on the screen of the Taylor C602 digital ice cream machine, he explains, then tap the buttons that show a snowflake and a milkshake to set the digits on the screen to 5, then 2, then 3, then 1. After that precise series of no fewer than 16 button presses, a menu magically unlocks. Only with this cheat code can you access the machine’s vital signs: everything from the viscosity setting for its milk and sugar ingredients to the temperature of the glycol flowing through its heating element to the meanings of its many sphinxlike error messages.

“No one at McDonald’s or Taylor will explain why there’s a secret, undisclosed menu,” O’Sullivan wrote in one of the first, cryptic text messages I received from him earlier this year.

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#biz-it, #fast-food, #features, #hacking, #iot, #mcdonalds

Beyond Meat shares soar after inking deal with Taco Bell on new menu items

Shares of Beyond Meat are soaring on news that the company will be working with Taco Bell on new menu items.

The company’s stock was up $17.13, or 13.67%, to $142.48 and climbing in midday trading after Taco Bell announced that it would embrace Beyond Meat to come up with new menu items due to be tested in the next year.

The decision from Taco Bell, a subsidiary of Yum Brands, is a departure from the Mexican fast food chain’s commitment to go it alone as it developed new vegetarian menu items.

“We’ve looked. We’ve met with Beyond, we’ve met with Impossible — our head of innovation knows everybody, and they all know her,” Julie Felss Masino, Taco Bell’s president of North American operations, told CNBC back in 2019. “But I think what we’re proud of is that we’ve been doing vegetarian for 57 years.”

Now the company wants más alternative proteins from the Southern California alternative protein provider. “We have long been a leader in the vegetarian space, but this year, we have more meatless options in store that vegetarians, veggie-curious and even meat-eaters will love,” said Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s Global Chief Food Innovation Officer. 

Taco Bell boasts that it already has over 30 vegetarian ingredients on the U.S. menu, but its lack of protein alternatives was noticeable as many of its competitors embraced the meat substitute craze.

#beyond-meat, #fast-food, #food-and-drink, #leader, #president, #taco, #taco-bell, #tc, #united-states, #yum-brands

McDonald’s to launch a McPlant vegetarian option

McDonalds is developing what it calls a plant-based platform called the McPlant that will debut in markets around the world early next year, according to a report in USA Today.

In an investor meeting McDonald’s announced that it had worked to develop its McPlant formulation exclusively. “McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s,” Ian Borden, McDonald’s international president, said at an investor meeting, quoted by USA Today.

The company’s special formulation could extend across plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches, according to Borden.

To date, McDonald’s has been a laggard in the corporate fight over plant-based burgers and chicken — at least in the U.S.

In McDonald’s around the world — including locations in Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, and Finland — diners under the golden arches can find a vegetarian sandwich option.

Indeed, in Canada, McDonald’s launched a pilot last year with Beyond Meat for the PLT sandwich (a play off of the company’s previous sandwich the McDLT, I’m assuming).

Compared to some other fast food chains in the US, McDonald’s has been something of a laggard. Burger King has worked with Impossible Foods to launch the Impossible Whopper and Beyond Meat has partnered with KFC on a plant-based nugget.

The two leading alternative protein makers have done a fairly good job of carving up the fast food market to date — but McDonald’s entry with its exclusive formulation must come as a blow to the companies (and the other startups that were hoping for a bite of McDonald’s food empire).

That includes startups like Chile’s the Not Company and Hong Kong’s Green Monday Holdings, which have both been vying for McDonald’s plant-based patty business.

#beyond-meat, #burger-king, #canada, #chile, #fast-food, #finland, #germany, #green-monday-holdings, #impossible-foods, #israel, #kfc, #mcdonalds, #restaurants, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #usa-today, #whopper

From bioprinting lab-grown meat in Russia to Beyond Meat in the US, KFC is embracing the future of food

From a partnership with the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to make chicken meat replacements using plant material and lab cultured chicken cells to an expansion of its Beyond Fried Chicken pilots to Southern California, KFC is aggressively pushing forward with its experiments around the future of food.

In Russia, that means providing 3D Bioprinting with breading and spices to see if the company’s chicken replacements can match the KFC taste, according to a statement from the company. As the company said, there are no other methods available on the market that can allow for the creation of complex products from animal cells.

“3D bioprinting technologies, initially widely recognized in medicine, are nowadays gaining popularity in producing foods such as meat,” said Yusef Khesuani, co-founder and Managing Partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions, in a statement. “In the future, the rapid development of such technologies will allow us to make 3D-printed meat products more accessible and we are hoping that the technology created as a result of our cooperation with KFC will help accelerate the launch of cell-based meat products on the market.”

KFC beyond meat

Image: Beyond Meat

Closer to its home base in the US, KFC is working with the publicly traded plant-based meat substitute developer Beyond Meat on an expansion of their recent trials for KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken.

Continuing its wildly successful limited trials in Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte, KFC is now setting its sights on the bigger markets in Southern California, near Beyond Meat’s headquarters in Los Angeles.

Beginning on July 20, KFC will be selling Beyond Fried Chicken at 50 stores the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego areas, while supplies last, the company said.

Unlike the 3D bioprinting process used by its Russian partner, Beyond Meat uses plant-based products exclusively to make its faux chicken meat.

Beyond Fried Chicken first appeared on the market last year in Atlanta and was made available in additional markets in the South earlier this year.  The menu item — first available in a one-day consumer test in Atlanta — sold out in less than five hours, the company said.

“I’ve said it before: despite many imitations, the flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken is one that has never been replicated, until Beyond Fried Chicken,” said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, KFC U.S. “We know the east coast loved it, so we thought we’d give those on the west coast a chance to tell us what they think in an exclusive sneak peek.

Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets will be available as a six or 12-piece à la carte or as part of a combo, complete with a side and medium drink starting at $6.99, plus tax.

Meanwhile, KFC’s Russian project aims to create the world’s first lab-made chicken nuggets, and plans to release them this fall in Moscow.

Popularizing lab-grown meat could have a significant impact on climate change according to reports. The company cited statistics indicating that growing meat from cells could half the energy consumption involved in meat production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while  dramatically cutting land use.

“Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our ‘restaurant of the future’ concept,” said Raisa Polyakova, General Manager of KFC Russia & CIS, in a statement. “Our experiment in testing 3D bioprinting technology to create chicken products can also help address several looming global problems. We are glad to contribute to its development and are working to make it available to thousands of people in Russia and, if possible, around the world.”

#articles, #atlanta, #beyond-meat, #charlotte, #east-coast, #emerging-technologies, #energy-consumption, #fast-food, #food, #food-and-drink, #forward, #fried-chicken, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kfc, #los-angeles, #moscow, #nashville, #russia, #san-diego, #synthetic-biology, #tc, #united-states, #west-coast