JERSEY CITY, N.J. — “Hello Human,” says the glowing screen of RoboBurger in a Jersey City mall.
RoboBurger is advertised as "the world's first burger robot in a box." It is essentially a burger vending machine — or as co-founder Dan Braido puts it, “a whole kitchen shoved into 12-square feet.”
The touch screen at Newport Centre Mall allows customers to order a classic burger with ketchup, mustard and cheese, or customize the burger to remove any of those ingredients if you choose. The burger is made in about six minutes and costs $6.99; the machine accepts card, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The patty cooked inside the big red box is 100% Angus pasture-raised Pat LaFrieda beef that rests on a potato bun toasted to order. The cheese is aged Wisconsin cheddar. The ketchup? Heinz, of course.
RoboBurger founders Braido, Audley Wilson and Andy Seliegl say they hope to soon open more in malls, colleges and hospitals nationwide.
CEO Braido and CTO Wilson met while attending Carnegie Mellon. They worked on prototypes to create what is now RoboBurger for 16 years. Then, they linked up with restauranteur and RoboBurger CMO Siegel, to make their dream a reality. All three live in Jersey City.
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RoboBurger also has the stamp of approval from NSF International, which monitors food and water quality. The machine has its own cleaning system that removes microbes and bacteria before making food.
“No more wondering if the chef or staff is sick,” Wilson said.
Though there are no servers or cooks, RoboBurger does have a staff that works behind the scenes to make sure it functions properly.
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For further safety, the machine will shut down if something goes wrong. For example, if the power goes out and the refrigeration system shuts off, RoboBurger won’t sell another burger until the machine has been checked.
Perhaps the best feature, Braido said, is that it’s open 24/7. Get out of a late-night movie at the mall and all the restaurants are closed? Never fear. RoboBurger will still be humming.
Follow Rebecca King on Twitter: @rebeccakingnj