Miso Robotics Teams With Chipotle On Automated Tortilla Chip-Maker

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

​Chipotle's latest digital innovation, Chippy, is an autonomous kitchen assistant that makes tortilla chips.
Courtesy of Chipotle

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If you’re having some chips and guacamole at a local Chipotle in Southern California later this year, there’s a chance you may be enjoying the handiwork of an unorthodox cook: an AI-enabled robot named “Chippy.”

On Wednesday, the fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain announced that it has partnered with Pasadena-based robotics startup Miso Robotics to bring Chippy to a Southern California location later this year. The “autonomous kitchen assistant,” which uses artificial intelligence to cook and season tortilla chips, is currently being tested at the chain’s Chipotle Cultivate Center innovation hub in Irvine.

Chipotle said it collaborated with Miso to tailor Chippy to its chip-making specifications—from using corn flour and sunflower oil to cook the chips, to seasoning them with salt and lime juice. While the technique remains the same, Chipotle added that the robot is trained to deploy “subtle variations in flavor” to keep things interesting and not “lose the humanity behind our culinary experience.”

"When Chipotle challenged us to see if our technology could meet the brand's high standards for culinary quality, we couldn't wait to flex our engineering and design muscles," Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell said in a statement. "This partnership will allow us to move into new territory to help improve back-of-house functions and assist team members with their day-to-day responsibilities."

While Chipotle wants to preserve the humanity of the food, there is a big push in the food industry to automate certain processes to drive down the cost of human labor. Miso Robotics already has a partnership with burger chain White Castle where another robot, dubbed “Flippy,” is in charge of cooking french fries, onion rings and chicken tenders. The startup has also created an automated alternative to soda fountains, called “Sippy.” Miso is backed by Santa Monica-based innovation incubator Wavemaker Labs, which focuses on automating the food supply chain from agriculture to food preparation.

If all goes well with Chippy’s Southern California pilot program, Chipotle said it could eventually decided on a “national implementation strategy” for the technology.


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EVGo’s Stock Surges on Better-Than-Expected Q4 Earnings

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

EVGo’s Stock Surges on Better-Than-Expected Q4 Earnings
Image from EVGo

Shares of EVgo are up over 20% today after the company released Q4 earnings that outpaced predictions from Wall Street. Analysts had predicted the company would announce a loss per share in the neighborhood of $0.16-$0.18, but the Los Angeles-based electric vehicle charging company reported a much more meager loss, to the tune of just $0.06 per share.

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AgTech Startup Leaf is Helping Farmers Brace for Unexpected Rainfall After Record Year

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

green leaf drawing and rolling farm lands
Evan Xie

At least 50,000 acres in the state of California are estimated to be underwater after a record-breaking year of rainfall. So far this year, California has received nearly 29 inches of rain, with the bulk being dumped on its central and southern coasts. Farmers are already warning that the price of dairy, tomatoes and other vegetables will rise as the weather prevents them from re-seeding their fields.

While no current technology can prevent weather disasters, Leaf Agriculture, a Los Angeles-based startup that launched in 2018, wants to help farmers better manage their properties by leveraging data.

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Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars' 2023 Health Care Accelerator

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars' 2023 Health Care Accelerator
Courtesy of Techstars

Earlier this month, Techstars announced that their 2023 accelerator program will have two simultaneous cohorts–Techstars health care and L.A. As previously reported on dot.LA, Techstars has brought on board returning partners Cedars Sinai, United Healthcare, along with new partners that include UCI Health and Point32Health for its health care cohort.

“For our healthcare program, this is the first time we've had multiple partners as sponsors,” Managing Director Matt Kozlov said. “This allows us to support and mentor a wider diversity of companies than we've been able to help historically.”

The in-person program is taking place in Los Angeles and two out of the twelve companies accepted into the health care program are based in Southern California.

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