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ordering kiosk
Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle

First Look at Sweetgreen’s Technology-Enabled Infinite Kitchen Concept

Newest Sweetgreen Concept Partially Automates Food Prep

Yesterday Sweetgreen debuted their Infinite Kitchen Concept in Naperville, Illinois, in the heart of the busy downtown of this Chicago suburb. We visited during the late morning on its second day open to the public, and the location was already buzzing with customers.  The highlighted feature of this new store is a central counter where customers can place digital orders via kiosk and enjoy a clear view into the automated preparation area and Infinite Kitchen technology.

How it works:

  • A customer places an order and pays using the Sweetgreen App or an in-store kiosk. (The App is the fastest way to get your food according to the store team).
  • A bowl is assigned to each order and begins its journey moving through the base of the Infinite Kitchen system.
  • As each bowl moves along, it passes under suspended ingredient containers that dispense the exact proportions required for each menu item ordered in the bowl. Ingredients include both warm and ambient items – for my order these were Arugula, Quinoa, Cabbage and Tortilla Chips.
  • If requested, the system can add sauces and mix the bowl at the end of the assembly line.
  • The bowl completes the journey at a finishing station where Sweetgreen team members add final items such as “on the side” sauces and softer items, such as Avocado or Steelhead.
  • When the order is ready, the customer is informed via a digital sign for in-store orders or on the Sweetgreen App.
  • Orders are picked up in one of three designated areas based on how the customer placed the order: in-store orders, pickup or delivery.
  • A receipt attached to the bowl indicates which items were added automatically and which were added by hand

order status sign and customer receipt

Kiosk order status sign and order detail receipt – attached to bowl. Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle

McMillanDoolittle Take

Sweetgreen has been working on this system for over a year, leveraging capabilities from Spyce, a restaurant robotics company they acquired in 2021.  Naperville team members were still working through the kinks of the new system but were impressed by the increased throughput and the portion precision of the Infinite Kitchen technology.  As a customer, there were a few kinks as well:  the kiosk ordering system was slow and one of the “added by hand” items didn’t make it into the bowl.  Nonetheless, the overall experience was quick, interactive, and the food was both healthy and delicious.

If you’re interested in learning more about how technology like this can help power your team’s innovation pipeline, simply contact us.

Mara Devitt

Mara Devitt guides retailers, brands and solution providers to identify and execute opportunities to innovate and grow. She has spent over 30 years focused on the direct to consumer segment with extensive experience with complex global clients as well as start-ups.

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