When you order a salad at Sweetgreen at some point in the future, it might roll off a conveyor belt after a robot kitchen puts it together. The company is buying Spyce, an automated kitchen startup. The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks.
Sweetgreen is figuring out when and how to incorporate Spyce's tech at its more than 130 locations, but the overall goals are to improve food quality and consistency, and to make operations more efficient. All going well, Sweetgreen employees will spend more time on preparation and hospitality. Sweetgreen aims to fulfill orders faster and to offer more healthy menu options beyond salads, warm bowls and sides.
“Spyce and Sweetgreen have a shared purpose,” Sweetgreen co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman said in a statement. “We built Sweetgreen to connect more people to real food and create healthy fast food at scale for the next generation, and Spyce has built state-of-the-art technology that perfectly aligns with that vision. By joining forces with their best-in-class team, we will be able to elevate our team member experience, provide a more consistent customer experience and bring real food to more communities.”
Spyce, which some Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni founded in 2018, has a couple of fast casual locations in Boston. Employees add prepared ingredients to the robot kitchen's refrigerated containers. The system aims to produce consistent orders using a blend of measurements, timing and techniques, as The Boston Globe notes. The Infinite Kitchen can sear food with its double-sided plancha and steam noodles, pasta and grains before placing everything in bowls, which progress through the kitchen on a conveyor belt.