Spyce is a Boston-based fast-casual restaurant that was started out by four MIT water polo teammates Michael Farid, Kale Rogers, Luke Schlueter, and Brady Knight and they were all obsessed with robotics. As athletes, they sought after better nutrition — but their student budgets only allowed for “bland chopped salads and stir-frys.” That is when they started brainstorming an idea where a robot could cook nutritious meals, serve them, and clean up afterward.
Shortly after, the team emailed Michelin Chef Daniel Boulud about the idea. Impressed by the idea, Boulud became an investor and culinary director at Spyce. And he and also brought on Chef Sam Benson as the Executive Chef.
The Spyce restaurant now serves food that is mostly prepared by robots. And the restaurant company recently raised $21 million in Series A funding. The investors in this round include Collaborative Fund, Maveron, Khosla Ventures, and celebrity chefs Thomas Keller, Jérôme Bocuse, and Gavin Kaysen. Boulud also participated in the Series A round as well. Spyce plans to use the funding for expanding more on the East Coast.
“We’re excited to open more restaurants and further develop our concept and technology to continue establishing our brand within the food community,” said Farid, who is the CEO and co-founder of Spyce. “Just as on day one, we remain singularly focused on delivering an unbelievable meal and experience each time someone visits Spyce.”
Spyce’s first restaurant opened in the Downtown Crossing area of Boston at 241 Washington St. in May. To order food at Spyce, restaurant customers use a touchscreen and watch as the robots make their food bowls. There are a few humans that work at the restaurant who guide customers with the process. And the humans will perform tasks that the robots cannot such as garnishing the plates. The price of Spyce’s bowls is about $7.50 each.
In an interview with Eater, Spyce’s head of marketing and public relations Grace Uvezian said that the purpose is to increase access to “wholesome and delicious food for people at all income levels.”
Uvezian added that when the founders were undergraduates at MIT, they could not “afford to spend $10 to $12 on one meal and they and knew they weren’t alone. Too many people were being priced out of quality. Spyce is at the intersection of hospitality and technology; by combining appropriately sourced ingredients with our robotic kitchen, we’re able to provide meals at $7.50.”