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Robotic Chef Serves Up Meals At Naperville Food Court

Robot chefs are more than just science fiction here in Naperville. Nala Robotics, believed to be the world’s first multi-cuisine robot kitchen, is open at the Food Court Mall of India, 776 South Route 59.

Robotic restaurant experience

“It’s fully automated so there are no chefs involved,” said Ajay Sunkara, co-founder of Nala Robotics. “The robot will actually prepare the food, so it’s touchless and always consistent.”

Employees greet customers and take orders, which are sent directly to the robotic chef powered by artificial intelligence. Then it fetches the recipe from a database of millions, fetches ingredients from a high-tech pantry and cooks. Once completed, the staff will serve and serve the food.

The robot cook can prepare any number of dishes, because additions are as easy as adding new recipes to the database.

The robot is currently cooking meals for two restaurants: One Mean Chicken for wings and fried chicken and Surya Tiffins, which serves South Indian breakfast dishes. A third restaurant, Thai76, will open next week to serve Thai cuisine.

Virtual restaurants

Nala Marketplace, a virtual, open restaurant concept, where anyone can upload recipes and create their own virtual menu, will also appear shortly.

“Someone who is a really good cook or has a passion for the culinary industry doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars building their own restaurant,” said Sunkara. “You can use Nala’s technology, Nala’s infrastructure, to turn it into a virtual restaurant and start serving the community.”

Look to the future

Sunkara said this technology addresses pandemic-era issues like labor shortages and cuts labor costs by around 60 to 70%. It also has hygienic benefits, as there is less human contact with food before it comes on the table. And with the power of AI, it will be exciting to see how far this technology can go.

“The future of this is that they’ll be able to create menus themselves,” said Sunkara. “Artificial intelligence will actually drive the creation of menus that we humans have not yet thought of.”

A hot new concept for the restaurants of the future.

Casey Flanagan from Naperville News 17 reported.

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