Pancakes For Breakfast. The Robot Will Make Them For You.

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 7/24/2019

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Paul Schlossberg

About six months ago, we posted a blog - The Robots Are Coming! It focused on the increasing presence of robotics in the preparation and service of food and beverages in foodservice operations -- including vending, onsite foodservice and micromarkets.

When addressing breakfast we said: "What about 'real' pancakes and waffles? Right now everyone is thinking 'impossible.' It is impossible because no one has figured out how to do it -- YET! Breakfast all day is a big deal in fast food and at many other restaurants. We already sell breakfast foods all day, every day. What if we could upgrade our breakfast menu?"

Guess what? Not long after writing those words, we came upon a robotic pancake maker at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort - in Cairns (Queensland), Australia. It was manufactured by Popcake International. On their website, they describe it this way: "The Popcake machine is the world's first fully automatic countertop pancake-making machine. This patented machine cooks fresh, piping-hot pancakes that are 97% fat free at the single press of a button." The company is based in Hong Kong.

Popcake machine at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

In May, we encountered another Popcake machine. This one was at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche hotel.

Popcake machine at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche hotel

(Full disclosure: There is absolutely NO relationship between my company and Popcake International. Call me a fan -- that's as far as it goes.)

On both occasions, when we first approached the Popcake machine, it was out of stock. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The breakfast service was crowded with lots of people enjoying the buffet -- including the Popcake machine. The queue for pancakes included kids and adults, too.

The hotel service staff needed only a few minutes to replenish pancake mix with a new bag. If you want to see how it works and how it is serviced, there are videos posted on the Training tab on their website. And, if you wish, you can access their user manual to learn more.

Popcake pancake from the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche hotel

You can get two 5" pancakes in about a minute. Given the interaction with the robotic machine and the speed of delivery, the pancakes were good.

At each hotel, we inquired about whether the staff liked the equipment and what they observed as guests interacted with the machine. We were told it was easy to work with the machine. And hotel guests, especially children, really enjoyed watching their pancakes being made -- and eating them, too.

Maybe it's time to give your breakfast business a robotic boost. This idea will not work everywhere. In fact, you'll need to do it at an attended site. Even if robotic breakfast service is not right for your business, you should be thinking about what you can do to improve your breakfast offering.

A good breakfast gets the day off to a good start. Perhaps getting breakfast off to a good start at your locations will be another step on the path to selling more stuff.

Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached by emailing to, calling him at (972) 877-2972. The company is online at