Chipotle is trying out a new worker that’s angling to prepare the chain’s famed avocado twice as fast as the current pace.
The Mexican grill on Wednesday introduced Autocado, a robot that’ll be tasked with the arduous process of slicing, coring and peeling avocados before human hands then mash the fruit and add other ingredients. The new device can hold up to 25 pounds of avocados at once that would be loaded in by a worker at the eatery, the company said.
The prototype is currently being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center in Irvine, California. The company expects to test the device in restaurants later this year, CNBC reported.
Chipotle partnered with robotics company Vebu, which worked with certified training managers from Chipotle to learn how avocados are prepped before being served to patrons.
“We are committed to exploring collaborative robotics to drive efficiencies and ease pain points for our employees,” Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief customer and technology officer, said in a statement.
“The intensive labor of cutting, coring, and scooping avocados could be relieved with Autocado, but we still maintain the essential culinary experience of hand mashing and hand preparing the guacamole to our exacting standards.”
Right now, it takes about 50 minutes to whip up a batch of guacamole with the goal to cut that time in half with Autocado.
“Autocado has the potential to work alongside Chipotle crew members to create the same, delicious guacamole that Chipotle fans love but more efficiently than ever before,” said Vebu CEO Buck Jordan in a statement.
Chipotle is expecting to serve up 4.5 million cases of avocados this year which equals more than 100 million pounds of fruit, the company said.
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