Last year when I visited Tokyo, I ate at a fully robotic pasta restaurant called E Vino Spaghetti. from a Japanese startup called TechMagic.
Built by a Japanese startup TechMagic, the restaurant’s pasta robot was able to make a plate of pasta in less than two minutes from the time an order was sent in via the digital order kiosk. The robot prepped the sauces and toppings, heated the noodles (which are pre-cooked and frozen, standard for noodle and pasta restaurants), combined it all in a spinner, and then delivered the meal down along a conveyor belt to the plating station where a human added final garnishes and did a final quality check. The machine also cleaned the prep bowls when it was done.
Building an almost entirely automated restaurant that pumped out a place of pasta in less than two minutes was an impressive trick for a young startup for TechMagic, so much so that I suggested that maybe when I returned to Japan this year for Smart Kitchen Summit Japan, the company may have another robot restaurant in Tokyo to show off.
And lo and behold, they did! The latest restaurant powered by a TechMagic is called Oh My Dot, an automated ramen noodle restaurant in the Shibuya district. The way it works is you order your ramen via a touch screen, choosing from a variety of different flavors ranging from sesame to spicy hot soup to curry. Once your order is entered, the robotic arm starts picking up the flavor modules and dropping them into the ramen cup. From there, the broth and noodles are added, and the last stop for the cup of hot ramen is with the human server to add garnishes and make a final quality check before it’s handed over to the customer.
You can watch it all below in a video shot by The Spoon’s Smart Kitchen Summit Japan partner, Hiro Tanaka:
As I wrote last year, the idea to build food robots first came to TechMagic founder Yuji Shiraki when he visited his 90+-year-old grandmother. Shiraki saw she could not cook for herself and so started to think about how a home cooking robot might help her. However, he soon realized that Japanese kitchens were too small to build the type of robot he envisioned, and he started thinking about building robots for restaurants. It wasn’t long before he quit his job as a management consultant and founded TechMagic.
That was five years ago. Since then, the company has raised $23 million in funding (including a $15 million Series B last September), received a patent for its pasta-making robot, and plans to create its own chain of robot-powered franchise restaurants.
In addition to the ramen robot restaurant, the company also was showing off a new stir fry robot, which you can see below (also shot by Tanaka).
This post originally appeared on TechToday.