This Daniel Boulud-Backed Grain Bowl Restaurant is Robot-Run

Please sir, can we have some more?

By Ethan L. Johns
May 04, 2018

Image: Spyce

Spyce is a new Boston restaurant that’s winning attention this week for its labor practices—namely that a large chunk of the work is done by a cohort of seven swirling, twirling robots.

The Downtown Crossing fast casual restaurant serves grain and veggie bowls for about $7.50, according to the Associated Press. It was dreamed up in a fraternity basement by four classmates at MIT, who partnered with Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. The Spyce menu was designed by Sam Benson, who has also worked at Café Boulud and at Chipotle’s research and development department.

At Spyce, customers use a touchscreen to make their menu selections. Once decisions are made and dollars are paid, vegetables and grains are released into robo-bowls, which spin and mix up the salads.

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Some upsides of the technology for the restaurant owners? Robots don’t call out sick like humans, because humans are fragile and weak. Robots also do not have brains or emotions, so you don’t need to pay them. How #convenient!

Of course, robot technology is not nearly advanced enough to complete all the tasks required for making a dope grain bowl. A remote commissary kitchen is staffed by a team of prep cooks who spend their days chopping onions, dicing veggies, breaking down meats and simmering sauces. Customer service staff is hired to solve problems in the restaurant, and to add a bit of pizzazz to the final product with garnishes and toppings.

One day will we see grain bowl-makers in our homes? Will we even know how to cook for ourselves anymore? The tech revolution is progressing; Say hello to your new robot overlords.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns