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Beyond Honeycomb: South Korea's Robotics Innovator Redefining Restaurant Kitchen Dynamics

AI-powered chefs could soon take over the restaurant industry in a tasty, delightful way

In the dynamic world of gastronomy, where culinary artistry meets technological prowess, South Korea's Beyond Honeycomb fundamentally reshapes the landscape of the commercial kitchen industry. With an unwavering commitment to innovation, Beyond Honeycomb introduces an advanced robotics and automation platform that promises to revolutionize the way dishes are prepared and served.

At the heart of their disruptive technology lies a fleet of AI-powered kitchen robots, meticulously designed to decode molecular data and continuously learn cooking techniques, ensuring the faithful replication of dishes' original taste and quality.

Beyond mere efficiency, Beyond Honeycomb’s solution tackles one of the perennial challenges faced by the hospitality sector: labor costs and human error. By seamlessly integrating robotics into kitchen operations, the company not only streamlines processes but also elevates consistency and efficiency to unprecedented levels.

From upscale restaurants to bustling eateries, Beyond Honeycomb’s technology promises to democratize access to top-tier culinary experiences, empowering chefs and restaurateurs to focus on creativity while entrusting the precision of execution to their robotic counterparts.

Come along as we venture into the future of dining, led by Beyond Honeycomb's commitment to culinary innovation and excellence. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the insights of Beyond Honeycomb's CEO Steve Jung and Solah Han, Business Strategist.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: Could you walk us through a typical scenario in a restaurant using BEYOND HONEYCOMB's AI-powered kitchen robots? How do they streamline dish preparation and ensure high-quality results?

Steve Jung: Once you add the ingredients into 'Grill X' and press 'Start Cooking', the cook senses the current state of the dish halfway through the cooking process and pulls out a number for the current cooking status. It then compares it to the desired target score, and the AI decides what to do next. After repeating the process, the AI decides whether it's done and ends the cooking process. During the process, humans simply feed the ingredients into the robot, press a button, go about their business, and take the food out when they hear the beep when it's done cooking.

There is no set amount of time to sear the meat at the beginning of the cooking process - even if you set the same amount of time for both sides, the degree of sear will always be different, so the cooking time applied to both sides will be different. This pattern of sear is performed based on AI every time.
Because Grill X can recognize and make judgments on its own, rather than simply automating the "act of cooking," it can always ensure high quality, even with changing environments and ingredients.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: In what ways does BEYOND HONEYCOMB's technology address common challenges faced by restaurant owners, such as labor costs and human error? Can you provide specific examples of how restaurants have benefited from implementing your robotics and automation platform?

Solah Han: Grill cooking is popular worldwide, but it's also a very tricky culinary skill. Even when using the same ingredients, there's a huge variation in the skill of the cook, and some restaurants train their staff for as little as two months, or as long as several years, before putting them to work on the grill. With Beyond Honeycomb's solution, each restaurant can quantify and learn the ideal flavors. Using molecular sensors, that flavor can be reproduced the same every time, minimizing human error.

It's also a great solution for labor costs and labor shortages. In cafeterias in Korean corporations, Grill X has been used to reduce the number of people needed to do a job that would normally require at least five people to do it to two or three. It also helps to create a comfortable working environment, especially since standing in front of a fire for a long time is quite difficult.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: How does BEYOND HONEYCOMB ensure that its AI-powered robots maintain the authenticity and flavor profile of dishes, especially when replicating complex recipes? Are there any unique features or algorithms that contribute to this capability?

Solah Han: Baking, steaming, and sautéing all have different factors that affect flavor. We first defined which factors have the most significant impact on flavor in grilling: Maillard reaction, charring, juiciness loss, fat rendering and collagen denaturation, and developed a model to quantify these values.
Neil Hodgson-Coyle: Beyond efficiency gains, what other advantages does BEYOND HONEYCOMB's technology offer to restaurants, such as improved food safety, reduced kitchen congestion, or enhanced menu innovation?

Steve Jung: We're always mindful that not everyone has access to very high quality ingredients. Of course, we strive to bring the flavors of our top-rated restaurants to every dish. But in addition to that, we are actively introducing Grill X to casual restaurants, and we are also developing relatively affordable menus. In the process, we use ingredients that are a little compromised in quality, but we try to overcome that and create dishes that taste the best and are nutritious at the same time. We believe that through these efforts, we are taking a step forward in our mission to bring a better dining experience to more people around the world using food technology.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: Looking ahead, what innovations or enhancements can we expect from BEYOND HONEYCOMB in the near future? Are there any plans to expand into new markets or collaborate with other companies to further advance the capabilities of your robotics and automation platform?

Steve Jung: We are currently working on improving our product so that our solution can be utilized not only in stationary kitchens, but also in environments where the cooking should be done with mobility. Beyond Honeycomb is always open to any challenge or collaboration that can help us make a bigger impact.

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