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Karakuri unveils its first robotic canteen set to change the global food and hospitality industry

Posted on Wednesday December 2, 2020 in Press Releases


The UK robotics firm secures an additional £6.5m investment
to develop ways to bring the fourth industrial revolution to the food industry

Karakuri, the world leading food robotics company, is bringing the future of food to life as it lifts the lid to unveil the world’s first automated canteen to make meals, the DK-One. 

Karakuri’s robotic system will revolutionise how and what we eat in restaurants, canteens, buffets, hotels and supermarkets as demand for personalised nutrition grows and the industry’s looks for new ways to operate in a post-Covid world.

Today the company is showcasing a pre-production version of their DK-One robot, the next exciting stage in Karakuri’s journey to creating an entirely new category of made-to-order healthy convenience food.  In order to accelerate the company’s growth, Karakuri has also closed a £6.3million investment, led by firstminute capital and which includes funding from Hoxton Ventures, Taylor Brothers, Ocado Group and the Future Fund, which was developed by the UK government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank.  This investment will be used to further accelerate the development of Karakuri’s technologies and create new products beyond the DK-One.

Today’s announcement shows Karakuri’s first pre-production machine which uses the latest innovation in robotics,  sensing and control technologies to offer freshly prepared, high quality hot and cold meals, which maximise nutritional benefits, restaurant performance and minimise food waste.

The pre-production version of the DK-One is being demonstrated and evaluated by customers in Karakuri’s facility in Hammersmith, London.

Post-COVID restrictions, further on-customer-site trials of the DK-One are expected to take place in the first half of 2021.

Key features of this version of the DK-One include:

  1. Consumer flexibility and choice – The DK-One produces personalised hot and cold meals with complete accuracy of portion size, giving total traceability of ingredients, nutrients, calories and quantity of every meal.
  2. Food waste reduction – It reduces food waste through the provision of accurate portions and real-time data on ingredient usage.
  3. Improved Restaurant Performance – Optimising scarce human resources which improves thin margins for restaurateurs and provides a better working environment for employees.
  4. Safe. Hygienic. Automated – The DK-One minimises human-to-human contact during meal preparation and strictly adheres to food and safety standards for hygiene and allergen separation. The DK-One is equipped with real-time monitoring of ingredient temperatures, stocking dates and refill times.
  5. Easy to Operate – The DK-One has not only been developed to provide infinitely repeatable quality and delivery of meals but also is focused on making sure the machine’s cleanliness can be maintained all day, every day using equipment readily available in existing commercial kitchens.

Barney Wragg, CEO and co-founder of Karakuri, said, “This is one of the most highly-anticipated stages of our business and a really important step. We’ve spent time talking to our customers and industry specialists, and seen huge enthusiasm for DK-One’s potential. Now up and running, this will be the first time we can use a pre-production machine to demonstrate the DK-One’s commercial and nutritional benefits in the real world and thus demonstrate our vision for the future of food. I am proud of our amazing team for the work they’ve done to get this far this quickly, despite the challenges of the pandemic. We are all really excited to begin fulfilling our customer’s expectations.”

Professor David Lane, CBE, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Co-Chair of the UK Government Robotics Growth Partnership, added, “Even before the pandemic, it was clear there were many opportunities to increase sustainability, resilience and productivity in the catering industry, and to better address changing consumer tastes and lifestyles while reducing the huge amount of wastage. The pandemic has thrown up further challenges of distancing and remote working that can now readily be addressed through robotic innovation. This is why there has been a huge interest in the developments Barney and his team are innovating at Karakuri and it’s a pleasure to be supporting them in the next stage of the business”

The DK-One is the world’s first robotic solution for high throughput, fast turnaround, completely personalised, portion-controlled, volume catering.  Customers are able to customise and place their order from their phone or an in-store tablet. The robot will individually prepare each meal, selecting from 18 hot or cold ingredients with precise accuracy. The DK-One prepares multiple orders at the same time, ensuring it meets the demand of the busiest restaurants.

Karakuri is a UK robotics startup established in February 2018. It emerged from the Founders Factory venture studio with the goal of utilising groundbreaking intelligent robotics, to transform and improve ready to eat catering and, at the same time, reduce the associated food wastage. Karakuri was founded by Barney Wragg, Simon Watt and Brent Hoberman and has closed £13.5m funding including investments from Ocado, Hoxton Ventures, firstminute capital, Taylor Brothers and the Future Fund.

– ENDS –

 

Notes to Editors 

For further information, please contact Laura Moross (on behalf of Karakuri) at laura@lsmpr.co.uk/ 07969673895.

  • Images and Videos

All approved Karakuri images can be found at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1niK38nkqV6cIYHnUuzQ5U8Z_gNaDZgn5?usp=sharing

For Karakuri’s video content please go to

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  • About Karakuri

https://karakuri.com/

Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers.

Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who previously worked together at ARM. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested in Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairman.

  • Key Facts and figures about the DK-One

The following facts and figures are related to the current pre-production DK-One, as of November 2020. They are not indicative of the final version that will be seen in stores.

  • User-selectable portion control allows customers to adjust their meal to fit their unique dietary requirements to every order
  • Up to 18 ingredients can be dispensed per installation, with each ingredient temperature controlled
  • Each ingredient is dispatched with measured mass, providing total  control of all nutritional content
  • Dispense of any ingredient type including wet, dry, soft, or hard food onto  plates, bowls or range of meal containers
  • High throughput: up to 100 meals per hour
  • Typical meal serving time, from start to order collection  < 3mins, with a typical output of one dish every 36 seconds
  • Compact dimensions (2m x 2m), designed to be transported through standard doorways
  • Physical ingredient separation – minimising allergen contamination
  • Temperature Controlled Cold (<8℃) and hot (>65℃) food storage within the robot
  • Full tracking of customer meal from order entry to delivery with full traceability
  • Designed for easy cleaning and service in commercial environments

 

Itsu’s Former Head of Food, Pippi Brereton, joins robot restaurant Karakuri

Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020 in Press Releases

Pippa Brereton joins KarakuriJanuary 2020: 

Robotic restaurant startup, Karakuri, has hired food innovation expert, Pippi Brereton, as its new Director of Food. With Karakuri transforming the way the food-to-go food market works, Pippi will deliver unique insight into menu development and food preparation operations to maximise the opportunities Karakuri’s ground breaking robotic and automation technology offers food retailers and restaurants.

Pippi joins Karakuri with a wealth of food innovation knowledge, gained from her work in the consumer goods and food-on-the-go sectors; spanning across Itsu, Graze, Gű Puds and Pod. Pippi has led innovation, menu development and food strategy by combining data-driven insight into consumers eating habits with an understanding of the processes and operations needed to efficiently deliver consistent, high-quality, delicious products and meals the consumer wants.

As Karakuri’s Director of Food, Pippi will work alongside customers to develop and optimise their offering, menu and operations through the use of Karakuri’s automation and robotics systems addressing each customers’ unique business challenges.

Barney Wragg, CEO and co-founder of Karakuri, said, “Karakuri is a technology business where everything we do is about the business of food. Pippi brings a wealth of food service, retail & hospitality experience  into the very heart of our business. One of the biggest changes facing the industry is the growth in demand for personalised nutrition. Consumers are looking for food retailers and restaurants to offer menus that can be tailored to their specific needs and dietary goals.  Pippi will work closely with our customers to develop insight around their existing menus and customer offering to show how our technology can evolve their entire customer proposition to meet this rising demand.”

Pippi Brereton added, “Consumer demand for quality, healthy, tasty food that can be personalised to our individual needs is at an all time high; coupled with growing pressures for increased consumer choice and heightened convenience. Karakuri is doing something truly unique and exciting in order to address some of the key challenges facing food operators today, as well as addressing prevalent economic pressures facing the industry.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Laura Moross at laura@lsmpr.co.uk or +44 7969673895.

Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers.

Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who originally worked together at ARM in the 90s. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairmen.

Heston Blumenthal to advise robotic restaurant Karakuri

Posted on Wednesday October 30, 2019 in Press Releases

Press Release
October 2019:

Renowned chef and culinary alchemist, Heston Blumenthal, has joined robotics startup, Karakuri, as a board advisor. Heston, known for his unique creations and seeking perfection in food through science and technology, will provide Karakuri with insight and advice on how Karakuri’s automated food preparation system can deliver delicious , hyper-personalised meals.

This is the first time Heston Blumenthal has worked directly to advise a tech startup. Heston joins Karakuri’s advisory board alongside ARM, Ocado, Imperial College, Bristol Robotics Lab and Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. The board’s mix of experts from the robotics, retail and food world’s means that Karakuri can push further to the forefront of cutting edge technologies and define how they can be used to impact how consumers eat in restaurants or on-the-go.

Heston Blumenthal, founder of The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston, said, “I’ve always been excited by the capabilities of robots. In recent years, the robotics industry has shifted greatly from being the workhorses of manufacturing into many other areas of our lives. Karakuri are part of a new vanguard of companies focusing on the use of robots in the food, beverage and hospitality space and I am really looking forward to helping be part of this growth.

The collaboration between robots and humans is something I am deeply interested in. Whilst there are so many incredible things robots can do for us, they lack many of the key human qualities that make the hospitality and service sector so special. Through my cooking I have come to understand the power of emotion and how it relates to food, how it is affected by feelings such as nostalgia, empathy and now our microbes. A robot is missing these factors and therefore it can never have as powerful a connection with food as humans. Part of the attraction of Karakuri was their willingness to explore these areas so that, as we build ever more sophisticated machines, we don’t lose sight of the beauty of human beings. Let’s use robots to celebrate the things that only humans can do”

Barney Wragg, CEO and co-founder of Karakuri, added, “From when we first came up with the initial concept of Karakuri, Simon and I dreamed that Heston would join us. Heston is the world leader in understanding the intricacies of how science and food work together to create something very special. He is constantly questioning how can we push the boundaries of food and its preparation. We are delighted to have access to this insight as we develop Karauri’s new and smart ways to prepare and deliver fresh meals.”

 

Notes to Editors

About Karakuri (www.karakuri.com

Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers.

Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who originally worked together at ARM in the 90s. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairmen.

 

About Heston Blumenthal

Internationally famous for his award winning, 3 Michelin starred The Fat Duck in Berkshire, Heston Blumenthal is considered to be one of the best and most influential chefs of his generation. Completely self-taught, he has pushed the boundaries of a traditional kitchen and changed the way people cook and think about eating. After extensive academic research, Heston was the first chef to affirm that eating is a ‘Multi -Sensory experience’.

Aside fromThe Fat Duck, Heston is proprietor of two Michelin starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne, one Michelin starred The Hinds Head, The Crown at Bray village pub, and The Perfectionists’ Café.

Heston Blumenthal has been described as a culinary alchemist for his innovative style of cuisine. His work has awarded him international recognition and his research into the sensory journey of gastronomy has enabled him to work with food historian, perfumist, food physiologists and biochemists from all over the world. His papers written in partnership with the University of Reading awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Science in 2006. His Television Programme ‘Heston Blumenthal – In Search of Perfection’ was awarded a GQ Glenfiddich award in 2007 and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2008, in addition “Feast” with Channel 4 was also Bafta nominated in 2010. In the New Years Honours List in January 1st 2006 Heston Blumenthal was awarded an OBE for his contribution to British Gastronomy by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2007 he was voted The Best Restaurant in Britain by the customers of the UK Good Food Guide and in 2008/2009/2010 was accredited a 10/10, the highest score in the guide awarded by both readers and inspectors. The Fat Duck is currently the only restaurant in the UK to hold this position.

 

Photo credit: Alisa Connan

UK set to lead restaurant and food industry robotics as Karakuri secures £7m investment, led by Ocado

Posted on Thursday May 9, 2019 in Karakuri News, Press Releases

9 May 2019 – How and what we eat in restaurants or on-the-go is changing thanks to new robotics startup Karakuri and its £7million seed investment, led by Ocado.  With growing demand for personalised nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle, Karakuri uses the latest innovation in robotics, machine learning, optics and sensors to allow restaurants and food retailers to offer personalised, freshly prepared, high quality meals, which maximise nutritional benefits and minimise food waste.

Research shows that almost two-thirds of consumers globally follow a diet that limits or prohibits consumption of some foods or ingredients[1]. Whether you have a food intolerance or are following a diet plan, Karakuri’s system personalises any meal using its robots to dispense the exact ingredients and quantities into that dish. For restaurants and food retailers, Karakuri’s technologies also represent a way to move away from mass pre-packaged meals and significantly reduce food waste.

The £7million seed fundraise is led by Ocado, and includes investments from Hoxton Ventures, firstminute capital and Taylor Brothers. The funding will be used to further develop the company’s technology, strengthen its IP base and expand its team for global growth.  The investment in Karakuri gives Ocado the opportunity to expand its value proposition in grocery, especially through Ocado Zoom, its new immediacy offer, and also provides their Ocado Solutions partners with innovative answers to the challenges of building a strong and profitable food delivery business.  Ocado expects to take delivery of the first of Karakuri’s machines in late 2019.

Karakuri CEO and co-founder, Barney Wragg, said, “At Karakuri, we are dedicated to providing smart new ways to create and prepare fresh personalised meals. Consumer eating habits in and out of the home are changing rapidly as demand increases for healthier options that match specific dietary requirements. This growth in menu personalisation is putting huge pressure on restaurants, cafes and other food retailers. These providers have historically relied on identically mass produced meals to maintain their profit margins. By using robotics and machine learning, Karakuri’s systems provide localised micro-manufacturing within an existing restaurant, retail or commercial kitchen. Our systems prepare personalised meals onsite in real time to the exact requirements of each customer. At the same time, our technology aims to minimise food waste, packaging and distribution costs and all of the associated environmental impact.”

Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado added, “Ocado is constantly striving to identify the best and most innovative solutions to provide consumers with the greatest possible value, choice and convenience. Our investment in Karakuri, potentially a game-changer in the preparation of food-to-go, gives us the opportunity to bring the best innovation to the benefit of our own customers as well as our partners”.

Brent Hoberman, Karakuri’s founding chairman, co-founder of Founders Factory and General Partner at firstminute Capital added, “The time is now for robotics and AI to drive change in the restaurant and food services business. Barney and Simon have assembled a world-class team to go after one the next large markets to be enhanced by this technology. We are delighted that  Ocado, a global leader in robotics and distribution, has chosen to invest in Karakuri to lead the innovation in this sector.”

Karakuri emerges from the Founders Factory incubator with the goal of utilising groundbreaking intelligent robotics, to transform how we eat for the better and reduce food waste. Co-founders Barney Wragg, Simon Watt  and Brent Hoberman, are focussed on growing Karakuri into the segment-defining food automation providers. Karakuri’s advisory board includes industry experts from ARM, Ocado, Imperial College, Bristol Robotics Lab and Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

###

Notes to Editors

For all enquiries relating to Karakuri, please contact Laura Moross (laura@lsmpr.co.uk , 07969673895)

About Karakuri

www.karakuri.com

Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers.

Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who originally worked together at ARM in the 90s. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairmen.

About Ocado

Ocado is a UK based company admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (Ticker OCDO). It comprises one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, operating its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under Ocado.com and other specialist shop banners, together with its Solutions division. In February 2019, Ocado Group announced the creation of an online grocery retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer plc, one of the UK’s leading food and clothing retailers.

About Ocado Solutions

Ocado Solutions is responsible for corporate partnerships, providing the Ocado Smart Platform as a service to retailers around the world. OSP comprises access to Ocado’s physical infrastructure solutions, running highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate a world class online grocery business. It is underpinned by Ocado’s proven expertise and experience as a dedicated online grocer in the UK.

About Founders Factory

Founders Factory is the world’s best partner for founders. Started by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory has received investment from Marks & Spencer, L’Oreal, easyJet, Guardian Media Group, Aviva, Holtzbrinck and CSC. Combined with its full-time team of 70 specialists it provides founders with the best platform to launch or scale their startup.

[1] Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey, August 2016

 

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