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Scoop: SJW Robotics Unveils Fully Autonomous Rowok Restaurant Kiosk
The restaurant-in-box category is really, uhhh, cookin'.
SJW Robotics is unveiling the pre-commercial version of its robot-powered Rowok restaurant kiosk to the public kiosk. The fully operational machine will serve Asian-inspired noodle and rice dishes at an event in Smith Falls, Canada later today.
Inside the Rowok there are six woks, 16 different silos holding ingredients like veggies and proteins as well as another eight silos for sauces and such. The Rowok offers a menu of items such as phad thai and green curry chicken, and is able to produce a meal a minute, and 300 meals before needing to be refilled.
Orders can be placed via mobile app or the on-board touchscreen. Inside, augers dispense ingredients that are placed in spinning woks which heat and mix together each meal before being dropped into a bowl. After a dish is made, bowls are sealed, labeled and stored in cubby for the customer to pick up.
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SJW Robotics Co-Founder and CEO Nipun Sharma demoed the new machine for me by video chat this morning, and explained that Asian cuisine is just the beginning. “We're not in the robot business, we're in the food business,” he said. The company’s technology will be adapted to make Mexican, Italian and Indian cuisines.
SJW is operating under a franchise model, offering the machine for a straight $250,000. While the machine is 13 ft. wide by 7.5 ft. high, it’s modular so it can be carried through regular commercial doors for easy assembly. Sharma said it should only take a human worker roughly two hours a day to re-stock and maintain the machine.
The Rowok is also equipped with a variety of IoT sensors to alert an operator when inventory is running low or when food is on the tail end of its shelf life. To help prevent waste, the Rowok can adjust pricing, so if the chicken is a day away from expiring, the menu can be shifted to put chicken dishes on special.
SJW’s official debut comes at a time when a number of startups are launching or developing their own all-in-one restaurant kiosks. Wavemaker Labs and C3 recently launched a joint venture to create Nommi. Last month Mezli raised $3 million to scale up its operations. In Germany, Aitme just installed the latest version of its kiosk. And in Isreal, Hyper showed off its automated pizza restaurant last month.
Sharma said that he’s finalizing contracts to install two Rowoks by the end of Q1 2022. He wouldn’t get too specific, but one will go into a grocer and another in a U.S. airport. With the debut of the Rowok today, Sharma said that SJW will begin the process of raising its Series A to scale up manufacturing.
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