Aniai, a rapidly-growing robotics company and global leader of innovative kitchen solutions, has announced its strategic plans for North America, marking a significant milestone in the company’s global growth strategy. As a key part of this growth strategy, the South Korean company has newly established their headquarters in New York City, added a key member to its leadership team and plans to hire additional talent to support its expansion into North America.
Aniai’s flagship product Alpha Grill leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to automate the hamburger patty cooking process, allowing restaurant kitchens to operate more efficiently and consistently. Aniai is currently conducting pilot tests in collaboration with several significant North American enterprise hamburger brands and expects to be implemented and active within multiple locations over the next six to twelve months.
Helping to lead North American expansion, Aniai has brought onboard Eric Hansen, an accomplished sales leader and veteran of the restaurant technology industry, as the company’s Head of Sales. With over a decade of experience in business development roles and senior leadership positions at companies such as Uber Eats and Groupon, Hansen is committed to building and cultivating relationships with restaurant brands and driving growth for Aniai.
“As someone who is just as passionate about restaurants and technology as I am, I’m elated to welcome Eric to the Aniai team,” says Gunpil Hwang, CEO of Aniai. “Having spent the past few years establishing Aniai in South Korea, breaking into the North American market is a massive step for our team and Eric’s proven track record in working with and understanding restaurant brands, knowledge of the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) industry and other related areas makes him a valuable asset to the team.”
Alpha Grill is designed to enable restaurant employees to focus on creating high quality burgers and enhance the dining experience by automating a number of repetitive tasks, such as cleaning the grill and managing cook times. Built with a rapid cooking system that highlights a double-sided grill, the automated grill simultaneously cooks up to eight hamburger patties at a time, or up to 200 patties per hour and is equipped with a self-cleaning function. An advanced monitoring system powered by AI and equipped with cameras and sensors tracks individual patty temperatures and quality in real time.
Since its 2020 inception, Aniai has received multiple awards and accolades for their innovative robotics solutions, including the 2023 Kitchen Innovations Award at the National Restaurant Association Show as well as a GBEC finalist at NextRise 2022 hosted by KDB (Korea Development Bank) NextRound & AWS (Amazon Web Services). Aniai secured a $3 million seed round investment from Capstone Partners and Lotte Ventures in 2023. In South Korea, Aniai’s Alpha Grill is already a leader in the robotic kitchen space, in use at popular and trendy hamburger chains including Downtowner, BAS BURGER and THE100.