What is it?
Yes, you heard it right: 60k options. Michelin chef Eric Minnich came up with a machine that serves customizable Mediterranean– themed grain bowls. Mezli is the first automated restaurant to remove humans completely from its on-site operations. The world’s first fully autonomous restaurant made its grand opening on the 28th of August 2022 at Spark Social.
There are other robotic food-making machines in San Francisco, like burger shops such as Creator. Even simple autonomous concept restaurants like the pizza shop Pazzi in Paris exist. Owner and founder Kolchinsky says that Mezli is different. Their goal is to make your lunch cheaper, healthier and faster. The company’s three founders, all Sandford graduates, decided to solve the lack of convenient, cheap and healthy lunch options. Especially students and new graduates struggle to live in one of the country’s most expensive urban areas. The software and artificial intelligence expert, robotics expert, and aerospace engineer bundled their powers to come up with this solution. Mezli opens up new possibilities within the well-developed industry.
The restaurant saves itself many labour and rent costs. The food is cheaper as a result of these cost cuts. Meals start at $6.99 for simple but nutritious bowls and get only as high as $11.99 for protein-heavy options including chicken or lamb. You’ll be spending less than you would at some more expensive places like Sweetgreen or Chipotle, where you could spend $15 and more for lunch. This brilliant idea and cost reduction will create a lot of “brand fans”. This group appreciates good food, a healthier lifestyle and not being “robbed” under the tag of healthy & organic. Likely it will include a lot of young millennials.
By now you’ll probably be wondering: how can this concept operate without any human interaction? The answer is robots. Inside Mezli’s blue and white box the size of a shipping container is a high-tech oven and are multiple robotic machines heating up prepared ingredients and mixing them together in a variety of combinations. Customers choose between options such as falafel bowls on a screen. The robots mix and heat your ingredients. Minutes later, the automated restaurant dispenses your order from a pick-up window. Because of this process, the restaurant is able to deliver up to 75 meals each hour! There’s still an important human element in the whole process, which is cooking all ingredients in an off-site kitchen. This is done by taking the food safety standards into account. These ingredients later are delivered to the refrigerated Mezli restaurant.
Why is it cool?
This automated restaurant uses AI and robotics end to end, collecting all data possible and getting to know the buyer persona from A to Z. By using this technique, the restaurant cuts on rent, labour and human error, resulting in a healthy and affordable lunch option. Because it is the first of its kind, Mezli changes the way you buy meals and provides a unique experience.
Mezli has the potential to blow up on the internet. Everyone will want to try it, creating a loyal (digital) fanbase made up of students and health fanatics not wanting to break the bank. Finally, a Michelin-star chef curates the menu. How cool is that?!
Why does it have future growth potential?
Inflation causes prices to skyrocket. People see the crisis coming and want to save as much money as possible. As food is a basic need, the food industry is here to stay. Although, it needs to adapt and take inspiration from businesses like Mezli on cost-cutting and accessibility. It is likely that AI will continue to play a big role in our everyday life in the future. That is why Mezli undoubtedly has an advantage as a pioneer in efficiency and robot use. Their concept has the potential to shake up the industry.