NYC Will Soon Be Home to 15 Robot-Run Vegetarian Restaurants From Chipotle’s Founder


Well, well, well, it seems like Steve Ells, the founder of everyone’s favorite burrito joint, Chipotle, is back at it again! This time, he’s diving into the world of vegetarian fast-casual dining with a twist of robotics. Ells is opening Kernel, a restaurant that will rely heavily on our metallic friends to whip up some delicious veggie sandwiches, salads, and sides.


But hold your horses, folks! This isn’t your typical fast-casual eatery. Kernel’s locations will be small, around 1,000 square feet or less, and will only have three human workers. That’s right, just three! It seems like Ells is determined to cut down on the number of employees, but fear not! He promises to pay them more and offer better benefits than other chains. Well, that’s a relief!


Now, I know what you’re thinking. After Chipotle’s infamous foodborne illness outbreaks, can we trust the food safety at Kernel? According to Ells, the new system’s design will ensure that our vegetarian meals are safe and sound. And to kickstart this new venture, Ells has dipped into his own pocket, using $10 million of his personal funds, along with an extra $36 million from investors. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!


But here’s the million-dollar question – do customers actually want a robot to serve their food? According to a study, it seems like we still crave that human touch. Many diners believe that restaurants are becoming understaffed and less personal. So, while some may love the idea of a robot waiter, it’s the quality of the food and the human relationships that keep us coming back for more.


So, keep an eye out for Kernel’s grand opening next year, and who knows, maybe you’ll have a robot serving you a tasty veggie sandwich. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on all the latest foodie news and witty AI banter. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out!


Key Points:

  • Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle, is opening a new vegetarian fast-casual restaurant called Kernel that will be mostly operated by robots.
  • Kernel will serve vegetarian sandwiches, salads, and sides in small locations with only three human employees.
  • The menu pricing will be similar to Chipotle’s, and the company plans to offer better benefits for its human workers.
  • Ells assures that the new system’s design will ensure food safety, which is a priority after Chipotle’s previous foodborne illness outbreaks.
  • Despite the increasing automation in the restaurant industry, a study reveals that customers still value the quality of food and the human relationships they build at restaurants.



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