Miso Robotics: When Will the Robotic Kitchen Assistant Company Go Public?
Robots are increasingly becoming more mainstream and are proving to be effective assistants for all sorts of tasks—even cooking our food.
California-based Miso Robotics has developed a burger-grilling and french fry-frying robot, called Flippy, that it thinks will help fill a labor shortage in the quick-service restaurant industry.
Miso Robotics’ Flippy can be installed in any commercial kitchen and uses artificial intelligence and cloud-based analytics to help restaurants not only cook food, but keep track of how efficiently they’re cooking.
What is Miso Robotics?
Miso Robotics creates automated robots for use in commercial kitchens. The company is most known for Flippy, a burger-grilling robot already being used by some fast-food chains.
Expected IPO Date:
No planned date
- Miso Robotics is aiming at the massive $273 billion quick-service restaurant market.
- The company says its robots won't replace human workers, but instead take over tasks that are hazardous and repetitive, allowing human counterparts to focus on customer service.
- There's an increasing shortage of workers in the service industry and Miso's bots could help companies efficiently fill some of those positions.
- The company is already working with several large restaurant players, including Levy Restaurants and White Castle.
- Miso Robotics holds some patents but it's unlikely that this will stop competitors from creating their own kitchen assistance robots.
- The company is still very young and the ramp-up time for ubiquitous robot usage in fast-food chains could take a long time.
What started as a bet between the two co-founders—Buck Jordan and John Miller—in Pasadena, California, has turned into a full-blown robotics company. Jordan said a robot could perform the redundant task of burger-grilling and his friend Miller, the founder of CaliBurger, said he’d invest in the company and use the robots if Jordan developed one.
The robotics industry is still in its early stages, making an early investment in Miso a potentially smart move as robotics goes mainstream. Here’s what potential investors need to know about Miso and whether or not buying shares when the company goes public is a smart move.
Top Miso Robotics Numbers to Know
- $22.4 million: The amount of money Miso Robotics has raised from its crowdfunding investment campaign (as of April 2021)
- $80 million: Miso’s current estimated valuation
- $273 billion: The size of the global quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry
- 14%: The profit margin Miso says restaurants can reach with Flippy, up from just 5%
- 3.7 million: The amount of labor shortfall in the QSR industry over the next 10 years
- 100,000: The number of hours of continuous uptime Flippy can handle
Bull Case: Why Investors Should Bet on a Robotic Restaurant Future
Putting robots into restaurants may seem like a gimmick at first blush, but Miso Robotics has a Terminator-like focus on making its burger-cooking robot a legitimate addition to any commercial restaurant.
And there’s a good reason for Miso to be optimistic. The company estimates that over the next 10 years there will be a shortage of workers in the quick-service restaurant industry, which is worth about $273 billion globally. This future gap could leave restaurants short-staffed, sacrificing the quality of their food, squeezing their margins, and potentially losing out on business.
Miso believes Flippy—and other future robotic restaurant machines—can not only help restaurants cook their food, but also fill the labor shortage gap and even make quick-service restaurants more efficient and boost margins. Miso claims Flippy’s efficiency can increase the infamously low restaurant profit margin from less than 5% to about 14%.
That’s a big claim that will only be proved if and when Flippy’s usage is scaled across the restaurant industry. But the company is making a strong case that technology will be able to disrupt the restaurant business. Flippy uses sensors and thermal cameras to watch the burgers it’s cooking and doesn’t take up any more space than a human does.
Once Flippy is done cooking, the bot can automatically switch to cleaning the grill. Additionally, it can also man the fryer, allowing its human counterparts to focus on customers.
That’s exactly what White Castle is doing with Flippy. The company started a beta test with the robot back in 2020 and recently expanded the use of the robot into additional fast-food locations.
White Castle says that it’s not using the robot to replace the number of workers in its restaurants, but is instead moving people to more customer service-focused roles. The robots will also help White Castle potentially fill more delivery service orders. That’s important for potential Miso Robotics investors because the online food delivery market is expected to reach $28.5 billion by 2021.
In addition to White Castle, the company’s robot is also being used by CaliBurger and in the stadiums of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Flippy could prove itself to be a valuable tool, especially right now, as restaurants across the United States are facing a labor shortage. The National Restaurant Association recently said jobs in the restaurant industry are at employment levels 15% lower than before the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the openings, many major chains and local restaurants are having a hard time finding workers.
Bear Case: Why Investors Should Be Skeptical of Robotic Kitchen Assistants
Of course, there’s a lot that could go wrong with such a young startup that’s betting on the food service industry. Let’s go through a few key hurdles Miso’s kitchen assistants could face, starting with the holy grail of long-term investing: competitive advantage.
Right now, Miso Robotics doesn’t appear to have any sustainable competitive advantages. The company does have two patents related to its Flippy robot—with 10 more pending—but it’s unlikely that the company would be able to use these to keep other companies from making kitchen assistant robots.
Miso Robotics may be at the forefront of the restaurant robotics trend, but the company certainly won’t be the only one competing in this industry, if it takes off at all.
This leads up to the next potential hurdle for Miso: There’s no guarantee that robotics will revolutionize quick-service restaurants. Miso already has large companies testing out Flippy, which is a great start, but it’s still unclear whether or not automation will become widely used in the fast food industry or not.
Consider that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) experimented with inventory robots in its stores for several years, only to move away from using them recently. Flippy is a very different kind of robot than Walmart was using, but the point is that even if some companies experiment with robots, it doesn’t prove that the tech has longevity.
Miso Robotics has said that it was “inundated with requests from major quick-service restaurants seeking a solution to streamline cooking” during the coronavirus pandemic. But that initial interest may not translate into more Flippy robots in kitchens.
Finally, the benefit of robotic kitchen assistants could be overstated. Not all quick-service restaurants will face a manpower shortage over the next decade and not all of them will receive the same increase to their profit margins if they use Flippy in their kitchens.
Even if robotic automation revolutionizes restaurant kitchens and Miso Robotics continues to be at the forefront of this transition, it will likely take many more years for it to happen, potentially leaving investors waiting a long time for Miso Robotics’ stock to take off.
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When Can I Buy Miso Robotics Stock?
Miso Robotics isn’t publicly traded on any stock market exchange right now, but the company does sell shares to private investors right now through an equity crowdfunding campaign. The minimum investment is $988, which will give you 45 shares of the company (as of April 2021).
Who Owns Miso Robotics?
Miso Robotics is a private company with more than 9,000 investors. Investors with $988 can go to www.misorotics.com and request to invest in the company right now during its Series C equity crowdfunding round. The company has raised about $22 million as of April 2021.
The company also has a handful of larger investors, including CaliBurger, White Castle, and the sports and entertainment hospitality restaurant company Levy Restaurants. Other investors include Meyer Equity, Knockout Capital, MAG Ventures, and Acacia Research Corporation (NASDAQ: ACTG).
How Much Is Miso Robotics Stock?
You can’t buy Miso Robotics stock on any public exchanges right now, like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq Exchange. But you can buy shares of the company through a Series C equity crowdfunding campaign on the SeedInvest platform.
As of April 2021, the share price of Miso Robotics costs $20.59, but you have to invest a minimum amount of $988, which would give you 48 shares of preferred equity in the company.
What Is the Miso Robotics Stock Symbol?
Miso Robotics isn’t traded on any public stock exchange right now, so the company doesn’t have a stock symbol.
How Much Is Miso Robotics Stock Worth Right Now?
One share of Miso Robotics stock is worth $20.59 as of April 2021. The company’s shares aren’t publicly traded on any public exchanges right now and instead can be purchased through an equity crowdfunding campaign.
Miso Robotics says that its current valuation is $80 million. The valuation is likely based on how much money Miso has received from investors, as well as how much it’s raised from its crowdfunding investments, which is about $22 million.
Should You Buy Miso Robotics at the IPO?
While investing in a cloud-based artificial intelligence robotics company sounds promising, I think investors shouldn’t jump to buy Miso Robotics when (or if) the company goes public.
First, there are too many unknowns with the company at this point. For example, kitchen robotics isn’t yet a proven industry. While Miso has some big companies who have become early investors, it’s still unclear if it will be able to add enough customers to become a viable long-term business.
Right now, Miso Robotics is a very small company being partially crowd-funded. Does that mean there aren’t enough venture capital firms or restaurant companies interested in giving Miso money? I don’t know, but investors should be cautious if Miso doesn’t start attracting more large company investments soon.
And finally, even if Miso Robotics does score some large deals with quick-service restaurants, investors should still wait at least a few months after the company goes public before buying its stock. Waiting will give investors a clearer picture of Miso’s financial outlook.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Miso Robotics Publicly Traded?
Miso Robotics isn’t publicly traded on any stock exchange right now. The company hasn’t announced any plans or timeline for going public.
Who Owns Miso Robotics?
Miso Robotics is a private company that has gone through several funding rounds. Some of the investors from those rounds include Meyer Equity, Knockout Capital, Levy Restaurants, MAG Ventures, and Acacia Research Corporation (ACTG).
How Much Does Miso Robotics Stock Cost?
Miso Robotics isn’t publicly traded so it doesn’t have a stock price on any public exchange. But the company is currently raising money through a Series C equity crowdfunding campaign.
Investors can buy shares of the company, which will give them preferred equity in the company, for a minimum investment of $988. This will give investors 48 shares in the company, each worth $20.59 (as of April 2021).