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Sweetgreen Salad Chain Acquires Boston’s Robotic Restaurant, Spyce

Plus, the Hello Kitty food truck is returning to the Boston area for just one day, 1369 Coffeehouse is raising funds to support those impacted by the earthquake in Haiti, and more news

Spyce’s robotic kitchen in action, as it appeared at the opening of the Downtown Crossing location in 2018.
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.

Here Come Robot-Made Salads?

A few years back, a team of MIT grads — with French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud as an advisor — introduced their robotic kitchen to Boston, opening a restaurant in Downtown Crossing in 2018 and later expanding to Harvard Square. The idea was that automating some of the restaurant’s cooking and ordering processes (while still retaining employees for prepping ingredients, interacting with customers, and such) would lead toward more affordable and nutritious food. The mostly vegetarian, fast-casual restaurant features customizable bowls that can be tailored to various dietary needs.

These days, Spyce seems to avoid the word “robot” when marketing itself, instead highlighting what it calls its Infinite Kitchen (which performs tasks like searing proteins, steaming grains, and measuring toppings) and its ability to complement rather than replace human employees with automation. “Our new cooking techniques help us reduce some costs which, in part, we reinvest in our employees paying them roughly 15% over market rate, guaranteeing consistent hours and benefits,” says Spyce’s FAQ page.

Now, national salad chain Sweetgreen — which has numerous Boston-area locations — is acquiring Spyce, with the goal of incorporating Spyce technology into Sweetgreen stores so that staff can “focus more on preparation and hospitality moments.” No word yet on what that means for existing Spyce locations.

Here Comes Hello Kitty

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, which makes local appearances about once a year, is coming back to the Boston area for a brief visit, appearing at South Shore Plaza in Braintree from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 28. (Find it between Macy’s and the Cheesecake Factory.) It’ll be selling snacks and collectibles, such as Hello Kitty Cafe rainbow thermoses, decorated cookies, and t-shirts.

Drink Coffee and Support Haiti

Stop by either location of 1369 Coffeehouse in Cambridge on Thursday, August 26: In lieu of payment for drinks, the cafes are accepting donations to support survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti. (Donations will be divided between direct support for impacted family members of the 1369 team and Doctors Without Borders, which is on the ground providing support.)

In Other News...

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1369 Coffee House

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