November 24, 2021

Robotic Chef Serves Up Meals At Naperville Food Court

Robotic chefs are now more than just science fiction here in Naperville.  Nala Robotics has created what it says is the first multi-cuisine robotic kitchen in the world, and it’s open for business at the Mall of India food court, at 776 South Route 59.

Robotic Restaurant Experience

“It’s fully automated, so there’s no chefs involved,” Nala Robotics Co-Founder Ajay Sunkara said. “The robot is actually going to make the food, so it’s touchless and it’s always consistent.”

Employees greet customers and take orders, which are sent directly to the artificial intelligence-powered robot chef. It then pulls the recipe from a database of millions, grabs ingredients from a high-tech pantry, and gets cooking.  Once complete, employees plate and serve the food.

The robot chef can create any number of dishes, as additions are as simple as putting new recipes into the database.

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

Virtual Restaurants

Also coming soon will be Nala Marketplace, a virtual, open-platform restaurant concept where anyone can upload recipes and create their own virtual menu.

“Someone who’s a really good chef or has a passion for the culinary industry, they don’t have to spend thousands of dollars in building their own restaurant,” Sunkara said.  “They can use Nala’s technology, Nala’s infrastructure, to build a virtual restaurant out of it and start serving the community.”

Looking To The Future

Sunkara said this technology addresses pandemic-era issues such as labor shortages and cuts down labor costs by around 60 to 70%.  It also has sanitary benefits, with less human contact with food before it hits the table. And with the power of AI, it’ll be exciting to see how far this tech can go.

“The future of it is, they will be able to create menus on their own, in fact,” Sunkara said.  “The artificial intelligence will actually power creating menus that we humans have not thought about.”

A hot new concept for the restaurants of the future.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.

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