Sweetgreen is acquiring Spyce, the robot-powered bowl concept with an electric delivery fleet, the fast-casual chain announced Tuesday.
Acquiring the Boston-based two-unit restaurant and its automation technology will “allow Sweetgreen to reimagine healthy fast food with even better quality, consistency and efficiency,” the Los Angeles-based chain said in a statement.
Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close during the third quarter, were not disclosed.
“Spyce and Sweetgreen have a shared purpose,” Sweetgreen CEO and co-founder Jonathan Neman said in a statement. “We built Sweetgreen to connect more people to real food and create healthy fast food at scale for the next generation, and Spyce has built state-of-the-art technology that perfectly aligns with that vision.”
Sweetgreen said it is determining “when and where” to implement Spyce’s technology into its more than 130 restaurants.
In June, Sweetgreen made good on its long-rumored plans to file an initial public offering. The chain has yet to release details on the price range or number of shares it plans to offer under its IPO.
Spyce launched in 2018 but temporarily shut down the following year to work on its food quality and ordering process.
Ingredients for Spyce’s salads and bowls are prepped in-house before being fed into a robot, dubbed the Infinite Kitchen, that is able to properly cook individual foods with its separate griddle, steamer and dispenser. The robot can make up to 350 bowls an hour and can complete an order in two to five minutes, the restaurant said.
Spyce also has a fleet of 20 electric-powered, zero-emission mopeds that have separate compartments for hot and cold foods.
Having robotic assistance in the kitchen will allow Sweetgreen employees to “focus more on preparation and hospitality moments,” the chain said. Selected workers will receive extensive training to learn the technology to maintain and operate Spyce’s technology.
Deploying automation inside Sweetgreen units will speed orders and boost consistency, the company said, and will allow the chain to add menu items beyond warm bowls, salads and sides.