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May 6, 2024 47 mins
Thirty-one years after founding Chipotle, Steve Ells is back with what he hopes will be another fast-casual dining revolution: the highly-automated, plant-based food chain, Kernel. Ells says that streamlining and automation will allow him to pay workers well above minimum wage and give them more benefits – all while reducing labor costs. But don’t call it a robot restaurant! Kara and Ells discuss the mechanics and philosophy underpinning Kernel’s concept and the downstream effects of integrating tech into our food. Questions? Comments? Email us at or find Kara on Threads/Instagram @karaswisher Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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