Sandwich-Making Robot in Andi’s Market Looks Like Terminator, Tastes Like Proust


Last week, a new worker joined the staff at Andi’s Market on Cortland Avenue: a fully automated, sandwich-making robot. Created by Bistrobot, the newfangled machine makes peanut butter sandwiches on fancy white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili, or chocolate sauce.


Bistrobot CTO Hamid Sani tells Bernalwood:

The machine at the Andi’s market is our first deployed automated sandwich maker. The machine is placed inside the store and the customer can place an order through a tablet kiosk, pay $2 (cash or credit), and watch our robot make them a custom sandwich. Simple as that.

Bistrobot is a startup that recently graduated from Y Combinator. We have a small but dedicated team with the goal of making robotic platforms that can make food, starting with sandwiches.

Neighbor Flo adds that some Bernal Heights DNA flows deep within the Bistrobot’s mechanized heart:

I live on Ellsworth St. My nephew, Steve Littell, is a chef and machinist from Chicago who came to SF with five engineer start-up buddies for the purpose of making this machine and others like it with more sophistication. My nephew now lives on Ellsworth St. too!

Locavore robots! Perhaps this was inevitable.

Neighbor Darcy filmed a video of the sandwichbot in action:

Yesterday, your Bernalwood editor visited Andi’s to conduct my own taste test of our robotic sandwich future. I ordered a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and when it emerged from the Bistrobot’s mechanical maw, it looked like this:


And the taste? Well, it tasted just like a sandwich mom would have made — if mom was a faceless automaton who looked like a mutant Lionel train set encased in a transparent plastic box. As a culinary experience, it was certainly worthy of any school lunchbox. As an entertainment experience, it was far more tasty than anything you’d get at the Musée Méchanique — and much closer to home too.

But don’t take my word for it. Stop by Andi’s Market, 820 Cortland (between Ellsworth and Gates) and command the Bistrobot to make you a sandwich.  Do it while you still can, because today, the sandwich robot works for you. Someday, however, you may work for it.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics. Video courtesy of Darcy Lee

13 thoughts on “Sandwich-Making Robot in Andi’s Market Looks Like Terminator, Tastes Like Proust

  1. Back in the day when that Filipino restaurant was open that sold the lumpia and stuff, I used to get liverwurst sandwiches there. $3.50, lettuce, tomato, onions, liverwurst, nice crusty roll. Real humans making real food with no pretense.

    I’m thinking that the food robot company is going to stay in business just long enough to sell out to Google. That’s the game plan these days; don’t bother doing something viable, just entice the guys with the big bucks and sell out to them. Then Google will place the machines in a few places, decide it’s a no-go, and shut the business down.

  2. My kids love this thing. We also went yesterday for the first time, after seeing the sign on the sidewalk for a few days. And we went twice. Anything that can make a 16 year old goth punk giggle while eating a pb&j gets an A+ in my book.

    From an adult perspective, it’s nice too see food process engineering put front and center instead of hidden away. Even the Filipino place that another commenter mentioned ordered its liverwurst and onions from a semi-automated, large-scale warehouse food supplier before it got to the real humans.

  3. The bot is down today (they are awaiting an important cable for the tablet, which is the brain). But the VERY nice engineer from Bistrobot was there and talked to my math-loving 10-year-old about how fun it is to be an engineer.

  4. I went for the technology, stayed for the sandwich….twice….I was intrigued by the chili mango jam; it was a nice idea, but suffered in execution. The 2nd time, I had the blackberry jam. My review:
    1) $2.00 for a sandwich? that is really cheap, seriously, you can’t even get “crap on a shingle” for $2.00 so for that alone, it gets a good recommendation
    2) They need to replace the Hershey’s sauce with nutella, I haven’t tried it yet, but I don’t think sauce will work on a sandwich
    3) I’d prefer grape jelly over blackberry
    4) The bread and box is inside the machine (behind plexiglass) so it stays fresh before the sandwich is made. The bread was surprisingly good, but you need to eat it all at once, I ate about half, put the rest back in the box and came back a few hours later and it was stale.
    5) When you order, make sure to hit the “Extra” button for both your fillings, it gives you a little extra and helps out with the “filling to bread ratio”

  5. I, for one, am not welcoming our new robot overlords, but am taking off my sabot in readiness….. with what will the millions, made unemployed by these soulless immigrants, buy sandwiches?
    Peace out.

  6. Pingback: This robot makes PB&J sandwiches just like mom | Atmel | Bits & Pieces

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