Here's What To Know About RoboBurger Inc From Shark Tank

Burger with cheese on bun
Burger with cheese on bun - Paulo PFZ STUDIO/Shutterstock

Although it may seem like a futuristic concept, the high-tech, automatic restaurant is hardly new. More than a century ago, Joe Horn and Frank Hardart brought the automat, a coin-operated cafeteria, over from Germany, opening their first coin-operated eatery in Philadelphia in 1902 and their second in Manhattan in 1912. Of course, behind the automat's vending machine slots were people cooking up dishes and delivering them to diners. Now, more than a century later, many beneficiaries of the automat's legacy have gone entirely robotic (think vending machines) — but the innovation isn't stopping there. RoboBurger is taking fast food even further into the future.

RoboBurger was founded in New Jersey in 2019 by a data scientist, an engineer, and an entrepreneur. Co-founder and CEO Audley Wilson had been working for years on various food robot prototypes, primarily out of his garage and eventually his living room. But when he brought Dan Braido and Andy Siegel on board, a new kind of burger was born. Their partnership, RoboBurger, finally married technology and flavor in one convenient machine.

The founders of RoboBurger Inc. will be taking their burger vending machine concept onto Season 15, Episode 21 of "Shark Tank" on April 19. Who knows what the Sharks will think of it — but you can decide whether this fast food business is something you'd sink your teeth into.

Read more: The Ultimate Ranking Of American Fast Food Restaurants

It's The World's First Burger Vending Machine

Founders of RoboBurger with machine
Founders of RoboBurger with machine - RoboBurger Inc.

The "burger vending machine" requires some clarification because the RoboBurger is more than a vending machine; it's upgrading your burger. It looks a lot like a vending machine; it's a 12-square-foot, bright red box that plugs into the wall and has a screen to select your order (or an app for touchless ordering). However, it's heralded as a fully autonomous burger restaurant, calling itself a burger chef in a vending format. A sign on the wall behind the first machine in Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City reads, "Fresh burgers made by a robot."

So this machine isn't really just tossing premade burgers into a slot for quick consumption, as a vending machine might. It has a refrigerator and griddle inside it and a wafting smell of burgers around it (the level of which can be controlled, Audley Wilson told Today). The company also prides itself on the machine's sanitation, claiming on its website to be the only hot food vending machine that is National Sanitary Foundation certified.

The Restaurant-Quality Burger Is Ready In Less Than Four Minutes

People in line for RoboBurger
People in line for RoboBurger - RoboBurger/Instagram

Part of the reason that RoboBurger is called a robo-chef is that its cooking process is similar to that of a human chef in a restaurant. The patties start by being grilled on both sides; then, the bun is toasted. Condiments are squeezed on the bun, and the burger pieces are assembled. Then everything goes into a box and out through the machine's slot — from start to finish, less than four minutes for $6.99. Although you won't be able to get toppings like lettuce, tomato, or onion, nor try any unconventional burger toppings, you can choose the standard condiments, like ketchup, mustard, mayo, and relish. The robo-chef will also top your burger with hot sauce or cheese sauce.

And even though burgers are RoboBurger's bread and butter, the classic angus beef and potato bun burger isn't the only option. Plant-based patties include a spicy black bean burger and a garden burger. If your fast food craving arrives in the morning, The RoboEgg has pork sausage or breakfast sausage and an egg on a bun.

What The Reviewers Are Saying

RoboBurger mural on brick wall
RoboBurger mural on brick wall - RoboBurger/Instagram

This burger of the future has been featured in several news segments and articles, as well as on "The Drew Barrymore Show" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." From the hospitality perspective, the feedback is positive. The company's website quotes a business owner whose bar has a RoboBurger: "It's easy on both the staff and the customer, and the burger is delicious."

Most of the articles and video reviews of the burger were shared in 2022, not long after the first machine was unveiled. Even then, beyond media outlets writing articles, consumer reviews of the product are fairly limited — but what's out there is mixed. One RoboBurger location's limited Yelp reviews include a reviewer saying, "Amazing how a hot, delicious, quality product could come out of a machine!" and a reviewer rating it a "big, fat zero."

It may not yet be ranked one of America's top fast food burgers, but with the imminent "Shark Tank" appearance, interest in the automaton could be renewed — and you might get a chance to review a bite for yourself.

Read the original article on Daily Meal