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‘Robotic burger chef in a box’ comes to campus

RoboBurger is expanding into higher education.

RoboBurger, a fully autonomous robotic hamburger restaurant, is opening its first higher education location.

The fully autonomous burger vending robot is now flipping hamburgers at St John's University in Queens, N.Y., with the support of Chartwells Higher Education. RoboBurger is providing St. John’s students with 24/7 access to freshly grilled burgers.

The robot is built with a grill, toaster, condiment dispenser and even a dishwashing function - a fully autonomous restaurant in miniature. Operating like an automated vending machine, the unit cooks restaurant-quality, freshly grilled burgers from scratch on a 24/7 basis, with no opening or closing times. 

Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), RoboBurger is a self-controlling kitchen designed to include all the processes of a restaurant at a fraction of the size. It measures 12 square feet, plugs into a traditional wall socket, and has a refrigerator, as well as an automated griddle and cleaning system. 

The robot uses a five-step cooking process designed to be similar to what chefs use in quick-service restaurants. RoboBurger grills the patty, toasts the bun, dispenses the selected condiments, assembles the burger, and delivers it hot in about six minutes

RoboBurger launched its first pop-up location in March 2022 in Newport Mall in Jersey City. Since then, the company has taken customer feedback and says it has improved its burger taste and cooking time. The current RoboBurger 2.0 unit is cooking a burger in 4 to 5 minutes, and even quicker when the grill is hot. It uses only premium ingredients like Angus Beef patties.

[Read more: Robotic burger joint comes to Simon mall location]

"We want to provide a quick, fresh, and affordable solution that is open 24/7, even at 2 a.m. during midterms. Because RoboBurger needs only electricity to function, it can be placed in convenient locations where students spend time studying or even in dorms," said Andy Siegel, chief marketing officer of RoboBurger. 

"We're so excited to open our next RoboBurger location in St John University! If RoboBurger was in our dorm at Carnegie Mellon, I know it would have been sold out every night," said Audley Wilson, CEO of RoboBurger.

Colleges deploy automated retail
Increasingly, higher educational institutions are rolling out automated retail options for their students, who may often be in a hurry or shopping at non-tradition hours. For example, College Station, Texas – home of Texas A&M University –is receiving Prime Air drone deliveries fulfilled in less than one hour from the time a digital order is placed.

In addition, three stores at the Texas A&M football stadium, Kyle Field, are equipped with licensed Amazon “Just Walk Out” frictionless shopping technology.

Meanwhile, on-demand delivery platform Grubhub is partnering with autonomous delivery robot provider Starship Technologies to enable robotic deliveries at multiple colleges. Grubhub delivery is available via Starship robot at campuses including the University of Kentucky, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Wayne State University, Southern Methodist University, and Fairfield University.

Headquartered in Newark, N.J., RoboBurger Inc. is a minority-owned business working with U.S. companies including universities, workplaces, hospitals and transportation hubs to place its automated burger vending robots.

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