Spyce was founded by MIT engineering graduates Braden Knight, Michael Farid, Kale Rogers, and Luke Schlueter, who developed the necessary technology through MIT’s 2015 Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator program. Farid was the one who first came up with the idea when he was getting his masters in mechanical engineering and didn’t have the time to cook his own food, yet was dismayed at the prices of decent restaurant food.
The resulting business opened up for the first time in Downtown Boston on May 3rd. Upon entering, the customers are greeted by a human host, who guides them to a row of touchscreen kiosks. There, they place their orders – the menu currently only consists of six stir-fry bowls with flavors that are popular in Asian, Latin, and Mediterranean dishes. These dishes were designed by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulu. The price for each dish is $7.50, although extra protein can be added for an additional cost.
Once the order has been placed, the robotic kitchen sets about preparing it. It does this by dumping raw ingredients into one of seven rotating induction-heated woks that are tilted forward, so the customers can see the process from the other side of the counter. Once the food has been cooked, which only takes about 3 minutes, a human grade manager adds cold garnishes to it, then brings it out to the customer.
Over the next few months, the team will focus on refining the concept, with the idea of opening up other Spyce restaurants in the city. That said, there are no immediate plans yet to eliminate the human side of the business.
Schlueter says that “our robotic kitchen was designed to be a tool. At our restaurant, our robotic kitchen allows our garden managers to focus on making our bowls look beautiful, applying the finishing touches, and being creative. We also have a commissary team that preps our ingredients for the robotic kitchen. We’ve designed the robotic kitchen to work in harmony with humans because without humans, our robotic kitchen wouldn’t function.
To see the robotic kitchen in action, check out the video below: