As restaurants continue to face employment shortages, owners will no doubt look increasingly toward automated solutions. Between that and increased focus on food handling amid a global pandemic, it’s arguably the best time ever to be running a food robotics company.
LA-based Nommi is striking while the oven is hot, announcing a partnership with restaurant brand C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), which is set to result in the rollout of up to 1,000 of its robotic kiosks to real estate and college campus partners globally.
The variety of foodstuffs that can sufficiently be automated is still a relatively short list. Nommi’s focus is on food bowls — which, like pizza — is a relatively uniform and self-contained food delivery system that makes sense to robots. The company’s titular product is essentially an elongated kiosk with a built-in touchscreen that lets the customer customize their meal.
The machine makes noodle, grain and salad bowls in as quick as three minutes. The machine holds up to 330 bowls and lids, and can prepare multiple bowls at once. Once finished, it can hold up to 21 prepared bowls in “lockers,” which release the food via a QR code. The C3 deal includes a partnership with Iron Chef’s Masaharu Morimoto, which will bring his Sa’Moto brand products to the machines, which will operate 24/7.
“Nommi’s secret sauce is undoubtedly its unmatched versatility, both from a brand and consumer perspective,” president and co-founder Buck Jordan said in a release. “Partnering with an innovative platform like C3 adds another layer of access to numerous revenue streams and unique customers. Both companies are disrupting the food industry and our partnership could not come at a better time.”
Nommi is working to raise up to a $20 million seed, with assistance from Wavemaker Labs, an incubator behind robotics companies like Miso and Future Acres.
Update: Changed to note that Nommi is currently looking to raise $20 million.