Follow start-ups | Cala, the first robot to cook pasta in the capital

Technology makes it possible to imagine the unthinkable: it would very well be possible to build a chain where the final product with a consumer would never have crossed paths with a human being, from sowing to delivery. If it’s hard to imagine today, it’s taking shape for certain segments, as Plenty proves with its fully automated salad production, or Cala with its pasta. Story of the birth of the robot of Ylan Richard, 24, who cooks on the Jussieu campus.

Then students from the technical school in Paris, Ylan Richard and Julien Drago, decide to launch a crazy bet. That of combining “good food” and at a low price, while minimizing the impact on the environment and people. † We were very sensitive to these topics,” explains Ylan Richard. “But it is difficult to combine these values ​​with a student budget “. In the preparatory class, both students have a good understanding of automation concepts. Their idea: reduce the number of people in the kitchen to reduce costs and provide cheap meals.” We realized that we could drastically reduce the cost of producing a meal. With this technological approach through robotic automation, we could have a strong impact on food “. That’s how Cala was born.

Ultra competitive prices

Ylan Richard and Julien Drago team up with Nicolas Barboni, launch the machine and develop a robot that can assemble the ingredients. A recruitment wave in August 2019 to optimize the vending machine to the maximum before opening the restaurant, and the escorts will finally open in October 2020, a week before the second incarceration. A timing that won’t stop the restaurant from becoming a hit. Accessible only for delivery, the concept finds its audience unaware that the cooking is done by a robot. This opening was a bit of a blind test to see if humans would make a difference as it is a robot that prepares the meal “. A challenge that has been successfully met, as the restaurant is quickly well rated and classified. In September 2021, Cala will open to take away, close to the Jussieu campus of Sorbonne Universities, with the reopening of the university. A strategic location to reach a young audience. But target for the robot” pastaolo »: covers all of Paris, with at least three more restaurants.

In restaurants, Cala’s robot is visible to customers. You can see him working and preparing meals. † As a guarantee of transparency, we wanted customers to understand how it works and how their meal is being prepared. Track your meal from A to Z without taking your eyes off it », analyzes Ylan Richard. The robot automates most of the steps, but the engineers are still developing the missing steps. Only four restaurants in the world use this cooking robot concept. Two in the United States and two in France. On the other hand, there are many who use the robot on the service part. To the question: why pasta? Ylan Richard simply replies: It’s a safe bet. We knew the students would like it. Meat consumption was one of the points we reflected on. Why ? Because pasta is one of the few meals that even heavy meat eaters can eat vegetarian without realizing it The Parisian entrepreneur does not want to put on a culinary ‘show’ with his robot, but to facilitate and automate the catering. Everything at competitive prices, from 6 euros. Since October 2020, Cala has claimed some 25,000 orders for delivery on platforms (95% of turnover) and to take away.

Combine robots and traditional dishes

Cala’s success proves that automation has a bright future ahead of it, and according to Ylan Richard, robots will soon be arriving in restaurants. † The pandemic has accelerated the movement. Restaurant owners are realizing more than ever that this is a vulnerable business and are trying to be resilient. Automation is an effective way The 24-year-old entrepreneur’s ambition for Cala is to open two more brands. Besides pasta, maybe salads or burgers, and a restaurant on every continent. In 5 years we would like to be open in all capitals of Europe with always this goal: young people, students and young professionals

The pasta prepared by the Cala robot is intended to ” healthy, gastronomic, with organic ingredients and often purchased locally ‘ the entrepreneur insists. And in Paris, it is the restaurant that invests the most in its ingredients in relation to the selling price. Everything is sourced locally and most of the ingredients come from Île-de-France. Ylan Richard focuses on sourcing and thus guarantees the quality of the meal. By giving preference to local and organic products, Cala emphasizes the human aspect, which is paradoxically central. † We chose to automate the painful part of the job: the repetitive tasks. We always prefer the interesting phases and the relational aspects for the team “. A modern human adventure that harmoniously connects robots with traditional cuisine.

†< Lees ook: Hoe robots de loonkloof tussen mannen en vrouwen kunnen verkleinen? >†

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