While automation has taken the restaurant industry by storm, food-making robots have not become commonplace quite yet. Robotics and AI startup Wings wants to change that with the impending launch of Nectar: a smart AI food-making system that will be able to learn customer preferences, make personalized meals, and time food preparation for exactly when and where their customers will be.
The human and kiosk-free device isn’t launching until 2023 (with plans to raise at least $10 million in seed funding before then), but founder/CEO Haitham Al-Beik gave a sneak peek of how the smart technology could be a game changer for customers.
“The menu that shows up [on your smartphone] is for you: you have a unique based on your allergies and personalization,” Al-Beik said. “And you just talk to Nectar and say, ‘I want my usual coffee with extra sugar’ or ‘I don’t feel like having my usual avocado sandwich today’ and Nectar can change it.”
At first, Nectar will have its own menu and won’t be branded, but Al-Beik sees brand partnerships as possibilities in the future. Nectar could pop up in transportation hubs and commuter-heavy cities. If you order from Nectar and realize that there’s a closer location on the way to your office, Al-Beik said, you can easily just switch locations and the food will be available where you are.
So, what’s the difference between Nectar and many of the other startup AI technologies that have been appealing for restaurant operators? Food quality, personalization capabilities and sustainability.
“It's not so much, ‘make me a sandwich without a person,’” Al-Beik said. “It’s, ‘How do you deliver this to a person? How is it being made? Where did it come from? Is it clean? […] Everything is artisan-made, this is not going to just drop some salad in a bowl. This is going to make [the food] as if there's somebody inside making it for you personally.”