Growing up I always thought of robots as the creations of evil villains, all dead set on the destruction of the world. Where would I get such an idea? That big metal thing in The Day the Earth Stood Still kept me awake nights. Dr. Smith’s silly robot on Lost in Space wanted to be good in spite of his creator’s evil intentions. But those were characters, the products of creative minds — fictional robots.

Today’s non-fiction, real-life robots are mostly not trying to take over the world, nor have they been created by Dr. Evils. Real robots do simple household chores. Working with humans, they also build intricate machines like cars and computers. And you can sleep easier knowing that your robot is here to handle everything.

Today’s robots are all designed for human’s help. Saving lives, improving quality of life, saving time, saving money, fighting our wars, cleaning our floors and having our coffee ready when we wake up.

In this list, a new innovation is introduced by Creator. It is a culinary robotics company, designed an autonomous robot that cooks and builds burgers to order.

Meet Creator’s mechanical chef

San Francisco welcomed Creator- a restaurant in SoMa where high-tech robots make $6 hamburgers in just 5 minutes. That chef is a Rube Goldberg-like machine, slicing buns, adding condiments, grilling meat, and spitting out a fully prepared hamburger–all without any human intervention.

The 14-foot machine contains 350 sensors, 20 computers, and 50 actuators that form a robot assembly line. The patties, which are ground fresh for each burger, are made from brisket and chuck.

Your Burger from start-to-finish

 Each order begins with a brioche bun traveling across one of several chutes, aided along by a wooden block. The bun travels down another chute, gets sliced, and placed in a container passing down a conveyor belt. Along the way, the bread is covered in sauce, sliced-to-order pickles, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and cheese. The last piece is a four-ounce burger patty. It’s ground to order and seasoned before cooking.

The Menu is short but Tasty

There are only four burgers on the menu. In addition to the two aforementioned burgers by Balla and Phu, there is also the Creator vs. The World (“Pacific” sauce with umeboshi plum and mole, pacific seasoning with garlic, mustard, bell pepper, fennel seed; pickles, onion, tomato, butter lettuce and cheddar cheese) and The Smoky (barbecue sauce, charred onion jam, ballpark mustard, Alderwood smoked salt, chipotle sea salt, smoked cheddar, double pickles, onion and tomato.)

The Price

  • Burger- $6

    There is a Creator vs. the World, Tumani burger, Dad burger, and The Smoky.

  • Slides- $2.50

    There are fries, a seasonal grain salad, arugula salad and shaved roots.

  • Drinks – $2.50

    Tractor Cola, Tractor Cherry Cola, Tractor Ginger and Lemongrass, Tractor Root Beer, Tractor Coconut with Citrus, Tractor Cola Light, Samovar Iced Tea, Rotating beer and wine selection featuring local breweries and wineries (prices vary).

  • Dessert

    Coletta gelato and sorbet
    Seasonal sorbets like strawberry and pear, classics gelato like gianduja chocolate and for di latte.

  • Seasonal Fruit

    An apple, tangerine, peach, or plum.

The best part is that you can see the entire process except grinding in a glass display case, which was intended to look as un-robot-like as possible. You see everything, and that’s an amazing feature of the machine from a physical design viewpoint.


It’s the hard work of years of research helped by some of the region’s best and brightest minds who have worked at the likes of Tesla, NASA, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Chez Panisse. The company behind the cutting-edge venture is Bay Area-based culinary robotics outfit Creator, which previously named as Momentum Machines, and was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Alex Vardakostas.

Founder’s word

“Growing up, my job was to make hundreds of the same burger over and over,” says Alex Vardakostas, and CEO of Creator. “I saw so many opportunities where I wanted to do it a bit better, slower, or more personalized, but it’s impossible when you have to manually make that many burgers with rudimentary tools.”

Enjoy your new burger overlords!

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