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GS Retail latest to adopt chicken-frying robots

A robot arm puts a bucket full of frozen chicken in the frying machine at the Roboarte headquarters in Gangnam, Seoul. (GS Retail)
A robot arm puts a bucket full of frozen chicken in the frying machine at the Roboarte headquarters in Gangnam, Seoul. (GS Retail)
GS Retail, the operator of Korea’s convenience store chain GS25, said Wednesday it will deploy chicken-frying robots, joining the recent race to automate food manufacturing.

The company forged a partnership with Roboarte, the food tech startup behind Robert Chicken that uses robot arms to fry chicken. GS25 plans to use the startup’s robots to fry frozen chicken from its own brand Chicken 25.

“The robot arms will automatically put the bucket full of frozen chicken in a frying machine and cook them, and dry the chicken off by holding the bucket. It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete the whole process,” said a GS Retail official.

With the robot, GS25 store owners and workers can minimize risks of burn injuries while deep frying chicken manually, the official added.

“Customers will be able to eat equally tasteful fried chicken no matter at which store branch while workers can take the burden off in preparing chicken products and focus on other chores,” the official said.

By April, GS Retail will select the first convenience store chain to use the chicken-frying robot.

GS Retail is not the first to have introduced chicken-frying robots. Last year, Kyochon F&B, the firm behind the country’s largest fried chicken franchise Kyochon Chicken, developed chicken-frying robots with Doosan Robotics.

The machine robot is used in the double frying process of the pre-cooked chicken, Kyochon said.

The chicken franchise is also preparing to launch a new robot that can automate other processes such as pre-frying the chicken, removing excess breading off of it and coating it with sauce.

Industry sources forecast retailers will increasingly turn to robots to replace humans in certain food-making processes to run more cost-efficient stores. Retailers are already automating some work in service sectors such as by bringing in auto payment kiosks, sources said.

By Byun Hye-jin (hyejin2@heraldcorp.com)
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