(via Zero Hedge)
The quick service restaurant (QSR) industry was born in disruption — out-competing old incumbents with innovations like drive-through windows, online ordering and at-home delivery. Now Miso Robotics is leading the next wave of transformation, with cloud-connected workstations where a proprietary AI-powered robot named Flippy grills burgers and works the fryer, every bit as seamlessly as a human cook.
A novel opportunity for outside investors, Miso continues garner support from forward-thinking individuals to buy into their next stage of growth. They’ve already raised over $40 million in capital over their series A, B and C funding rounds — and their $11 million partnership with global chain CaliBurger has been making national news in outlets like USA Today, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. This private-equity investment round may be the last chance you’ll get to own shares in this fast-growing company.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at Miso’s product portfolio, corporate partnerships, and growth to date, to see how their track record and product-market fit put them in an ideal position to capture a rapidly expanding niche within the food service industry.
An industry on the tipping point
The QSR industry is valued at $875 billion worldwide. In the US alone, this sector comprises more than 280,000 restaurant locations, whose annual operating costs run in excess of $70 billion. A high percentage of those costs cover staff paychecks — but the ROI for any given staff member can be hard to predict, due to the industry’s whopping 150% annual labor turnover rate. A sizable investment in training a new staff member may generate very little return if that person quits without warning after just a few weeks.
Further amplifying this challenge, the QSR industry’s revenue is highly dependent on two key factors: efficiency (you get hot, fresh food just minutes after placing your order) and consistency (a Big Mac is a Big Mac, whether you order it in Chicago or Tokyo). Both those factors, in turn, depend on adaptable process engineering: given the industry’s turnover rate, restaurant owners and operators face a constant struggle to maintain consistent food quality and operational efficiency with a high-churn staff of regulars, trainees, temps and seasonal workers.
What’s more, the industry’s labor gap is only increasing. Currently, 800,000 QSR job roles are unfilled — and researchers predict a sharp increase in that disparity over the coming decade. For example, a 2019 report by the National Restaurant Association forecasts that while 1.6 million new food-service jobs will be created over the next 10 years, the US labor pool for that same sector will shrink by 1.3 million over that same period. This will create a labor shortfall of 3.7 million workers, in an industry already plagued by high turnover and low employee ROI.
Restaurant owners and franchisees are well aware of these intensifying problems, and are actively on the lookout for technological solutions that can help re-stabilize their balance sheets. That’s exactly where Miso Robotics comes in.
Miso’s solution: cloud-connected food prep robots
While Flippy the robotic arm has attracted most of Miso’s press coverage today, this star attraction is just one element of the company’s AI-powered workstations, which incorporate grills, fryers, and food drop-off-points. All these components work together as an integrated whole — not only preparing food, but also self-cleaning, tracking incoming orders, and adapting in real time to the flow of ingredients and workers throughout the kitchen.
For example, from the moment a staff member drops a basket of uncooked fries at a Miso workstation, Flippy goes to work automatically, without having to be told what to do. Just like a human fry cook, the arm picks up the fry basket and dips it into the fryer — while the workstation simultaneously fine-tunes the oil’s temperature to ensure perfect crispness. At another grilling workstation, Flippy tracks the progress of burgers, flipping each patty at precisely the moment it’s cooked through, then removing it before it gets burnt.
As impressive as these abilities are, Flippy’s true value-add is its AI-driven responsiveness. The workstation is far more than just a piece of kitchen hardware — it’s an artificially intelligent food prep worker, constantly attentive to the flow of kitchen activity around it. It proactively tracks incoming orders, planning ahead and making space for its human coworkers to drop off the next round of items. It even cleans up its own workstation during downtime, just as a human employee would be expected to.
Beyond this, each Flippy workstation’s performance continues to improve over time. Its machine learning algorithms automatically network with Miso’s AI cloud — analyzing its behavior, pinpointing process bottlenecks, and preparing behavioral improvements for the next workday. That’s a level of dedication that very few human QSR workers can match.
Real-world data proves the bottom-line impact of Flippy’s capabilities. The AI kitchen assistant has prepared more than 175,000 pounds of fried food and more than 12,000 burgers — all without burning a fry or undercooking a patty. As a result, a single Flippy workstation delivers (on average) a nine-percent year-over-year profit increase versus a human staff member in the same role.
This measurable ROI has rocketed Miso’s growth over the past five years — and now they’re offering private investors (like you) the opportunity to invest in their next stage of expansion.
Growth, partnerships, patents and plans
Starting from an initial round of seed funding in 2016, Miso has successfully met or exceeded all fundraising targets to date, raising over $40 million in capital through its series A, B and C funding rounds. In 2017, global quick-service chain CaliBurger purchased $11 million in Flippy workstations, two for each of its more than 50 QSR locations. Following another successful partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miso has just landed a partnership with one of the QSR industry’s original innovators — White Castle, who piloted Flippy and are working to deploy it to up to 10 additional locations as part of a beta rollout.
But Flippy represents just one component of Miso’s visionary product strategy. In addition to the company’s two existing patents, which cover their cloud-connected workstation technology, Miso has an additional 10 patents pending. These patents cover a range of proprietary machine learning and robotics control software — plus even more innovative hardware, such as overhead rail-mounted robots, which Miso uses to work multiple food-prep stations at once. With this new generation of hardware and software, Miso’s aim is nothing less than to disrupt the QSR sector from the ground up, by building the world’s first wirelessly integrated, artificially intelligent cloud-connected kitchens.
And for a limited time, Miso has opened up their stock to not only to large firms, but to private investors like you. This unorthodox online public offering (OPO) provides private individuals the unique opportunity to acquire equity in Miso well before they offer stock to the general public — giving you access to affordably priced shares in a company that’s solidly positioned to meet a growing need in a global multibillion-dollar industry, by leveraging proprietary patented tech that delivers proven, measurable ROI.
As the QSR industry keeps evolving to meet customer expectations, and its staffing pool continues to shrink, demand for Miso’s robotic solutions is poised to skyrocket. Now’s your chance to join 10,000 other early-stage investors at the ground floor of AI-powered food prep — so pick up some equity in Miso, and own a valuable piece of the food industry’s future.