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Spycing Things Up A Bit

It’s pretty widely known that college students are a hungry bunch, and the four MIT students behind the scenes at Spyce (Boston, MA) are no exception. A simple concept, perhaps, but an execution that required no less than four robotics engineers and a Master Chef. Michael, Kale, Luke, and Brady first constructed a prototype of their robotic kitchen in the basement of their frat house over the course of two years. Once their design was functional, they consulted Michelin chef Daniel Boulud so that they could be sure that not only was their food affordable, quick, and consistent- but also is delicious and nutritious as possible.

Here is a video from Spyce’s YouTube page that covers the basics, but I will include a brief outline just in case.

Spyce’s innovative food preparation system works like this:

  • The customer orders from one of the many touchscreen menus set up in the restaurant.
  • A message appears on the screen over one of the woks indicating that the meal is being prepared by that station.
  • The machine collects the perfect amount of each ingredient and adds it to a hopper-like pan called a wok.
  • The wok rotates and cooks the food by means of induction heating. This rotation and heating ensure that the food is cooked perfectly every single time.
  • The wok is turned over and the food is placed into one of their (biodegradable) bowls.
  • The garde manger (French for “keeper of the food” – responsible for ensuring he presentation of the meal is perfect before it gets into the hands of the customer) puts the finishing touches on the meal and covers it with a lid (also biodegradable). In the meantime, the wok is flipped upside-down and cleaned out with automatic water nozzles before being returned to its original position to prepare for the next meal.
  • Finally, the garde manger places a custom-printed label with meal and customer name in the center of the lid before handing it out.

Wait- custom in-house full bleed color labels? That’s where the Epson TM-C3500 color industrial label printer comes in!

If you’re reading this, I’m sure you have some understanding of how important food labeling is. If not, check out our other posts here.

One of the things that makes these meals so unique is the ability to custom order. It seems like no matter how many allergies or diet restrictions you have, there is a meal for you. But customization shouldn’t stop there! Not only is the bowl built for you, but your name is submitted with your order and order number, which is sent to a computer under the counter. As the garde manger completes the bowl, they give the O.K. to the computer and a custom label is sent to their Epson C3500 printer.

Rick took a quick video while he was there, in which we can see the printer doing its thing and Kale showing us the significance of the printer in their process.

As you can see, the label is more than just a static image. It contains not only the customer name and the order number as well as the time that the order was submitted.  The label background image also changes based on the type of meal that was selected, allowing for a greater variety of branding and marketing a unique style (and showing off the incredible color printing capabilities of the Epson TM-C3500!).  This information isn’t solely for display purposes- it also allows the employees to track orders. As Kale shows us in the video, there is a computer screen under the counter which displays all recent meals. If there is an issue with an order, it is quickly resolved!

This robotic restaurant represents a new direction for speedy food service, and IPSi could not have been more proud to assist in turning this vision into a reality.

Because great products deserve great labels!

About Integrated Productivity Systems LLC (IPSi):  IPSi specializes in optimizing mission-critical business processes around enterprise label printing and barcoding data collection in manufacturing and distribution companies.  Our areas of expertise include fixing inefficient workflows in product and shipping label generation, mobile barcode data collection, inventory and warehouse management,  automated label application, and automated bagging and labeling of finished goods.  By helping companies streamline and re-engineer mission-critical workflows, our customers are able to reduce costs, eliminate errors, and sustain flexible and scalable operations.  We are passionate about helping our customers leverage technology to develop simple, cost-effective systems that ensure their operations run efficiently all day, every day.  IPSi's Website
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