by Chris Albrecht

Typically when we write about food making robots, they fall into either one of two categories: Smaller countertop devices meant for the home, or larger, more industrial robots meant for restaurant kitchens. But a restaurant called Bots&Pots in Zagreb, Croatia, is combining those two ideas and using a number of GammaChef cooking robots to make meals for its customers. 

GammaChef, also based in Croatia (and also a former Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase finalist), makes the eponymous robot capable of creating one-pot dishes such as stews, risottos and pastas. The device stores ingredients, dispenses them into the pot, and stirs the food as it cooks. According to Total Croatia News, customers at Bots&Pots choose their meal via touchscreen at one of five GammaChefs inside the restaurant and they’ll be able to see their meal prepared. According to the story, with five robots running, the restaurant can make up to 60 meals per hour. Human chefs at Bots&Pots are also creating new recipes for the robot to “learn.”

What’s intriguing about Bots&Pots is its robot deployment strategy. The restaurant is foregoing one big, self-contained autonomous kiosk (like the DaVinci Kitchen) in favor smaller consumer appliances. This approach could help save money up front, because there is no big installation or training that needs to happen around a large robot. Not needing to build around a big bulky robot also means that as Bots&Pots franchises out, the concept can adapt to just about any real estate because you just plunk the GammaChefs down on some countertops. 

We don’t have a ton of other details about Bots&Pots right now. Based on the restaurant’s Facebook page, it appears as though it is in more of a showroom mode, and not quite open to the public yet. A translation of a Bots&Pots Facebook post on August 14 reads “Soon….Zagreb, then the world ????????.” The restaurant also mentions franchising in earlier Facebook posts, so it appears that Bots&Pots is looking to take the concept to more stores in more locations. 

Will this be a strategy other restaurants adopt? Could we see other home cooking robots like the Oliver or Nymble’s Julia be used in bulk at eateries? We’ll have to see how the nuts and bolts of Bots&Pots works out.