Food Safety

Robotic Technology Brings Food Safety Benefits


We’re entering a new era in fast foods.  Now, your speedy meals may be assembled not just by human hands, but with the help of the advanced precision of robotics. 

An example: Chipotle, a trailblazer in culinary innovation, has joined forces with Hyphen (kitchen technology experts) and together they are cooking up something extraordinary – an automated digital “makeline.”  In this system, robots with meticulous accuracy are the new sous-chefs, assembling custom bowls and salads at lighting speed.  Customers digitally relay their orders which triggers a bowl drop with added ingredients ready for the human staff to craft into delicious burritos, tacos, or quesadillas. This cooperative effort of human and robot has been named “cobotics.”

Chippy, Chipotle’s tortilla-making robot

Curt Garner of Chipotle offer the reassurance that this technological shift isn’t about cutting the workforce.  It’s about catering to the increase in online orders and assuring that the digital demand doesn’t take away from the in-restaurant live experience.  Mechanical innovations are here to assist not replace, shouldering the burden of labor-intensive tasks.  This is evidenced by earlier introductions like “Autocado” a robotic arm that skillfully peels and cuts avocados for guacamole and “Chippy” the robotic-fry-cook perfecting the toasted tortilla chip.

Chipotle’s Autocado

However, beneath this tech evolution there is simmering concern about what this mechanization means for the future of employees.   Many fear their roles might be on the chopping block despite union backing.  Highlighting these concerns, Bethany Khan of the Culinary Union points to protective contractual inclusions that have been in place since 2018 that demand advance notice of new tech, ensuring employee privacy and securing agreements for future layoff protection.

Chipotle isn’t alone in adding robotic technology.  Across the globe, the food and beverage industry has seen an 18% surge in robotic installations with the US taking the lead.  It became even more necessary during the Covid-19 crisis.  The pandemic forced the fast food industry to maintain hygienic contactless food preparation without sacrificing speed or quality.  The answer of course was robotics as evidenced by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) noting a 25% uptick in U.S. installations in 2021 totaling 3,402 units.  These machines stepped in when humans had to step back keeping kitchens alive despite staff shortages and health concerns.

This new era of culinary art coupled with robotic efficiency brings increased compliance with continuing food safety and hygienic requirements to the benefit of all consumers.

Lily Noon


  1. “Chipotle has another robot helper. This one makes salads and bowls.” by Mike Snider, October 4, 2023,
  2. Robotics use growing “at breathtaking speed” as food and bev industry automation increases 25% – IFR report by Lucy Ngige, October 17, 2022,




Chipotleの最高技術責任者、Curt Garner氏は、人員削減のための技術導入ではないと説明しています。オンライン注文が増加しているため、そのデジタルの需要によって、客の目の前で調理する店内での体験が失われないようにするためだそうです。機械を使ったイノベーションは、人に代わるのではなく人を支援するものであり、労働集約型の作業の負担を軽減します。Chipotleではこれまでにも、ワカモレのためにアボカドの皮を上手に剥いて切るロボット「Autocado」や、トルティーヤチップを見事に揚げるロボット「Chippy」を活用してきました。


ただし、こうした技術革命の水面下では、この種の機械化が人間のスタッフの未来にとって何を意味するかについての懸念が広まっているのも事実です。労働組合がどんなに頑張っても、自分の仕事はいずれ削減されると感じている人もたくさんいます。調理労働者組合のBethany Khan氏によると、2018年の団体協定に保護条項が盛り込まれており、新規技術導入の事前通知を義務付けるとともに、従業員のプライバシーを保護し、将来の人員削減に対する契約が確保されているそうです。



Lily Noon



  1. 「Chipotle has another robot helper. This one makes salads and bowls(Chipotleに新たなロボットが登場、今度はサラダとボウルを作るロボット)」、著:Mike Snider、2023年10月4日、
  2. 「Robotics use growing “at breathtaking speed” as food and bev industry automation increases 25% – IFR report(ロボティクス使用が『息をのむ速さ』で成長、食品・飲料業界で自動化が25%増 ― IFR報告書)」:著:Lucy Ngige、2022年10月17日、