There was a time that when your wallet was empty and the month was only halfway down you had to resort to flipping burgers for MacDonalds or Burger King. Not something you would want to do for the rest of your life but at least it paid the bills. There were more benefits. Free meals, a sort of all you can eat, and take away home. This came in handy when cash was short. Oh, and you could put it down on your resumé to show that you were a resourceful person, got promoted even twice and was awarded most valued employee three times!
Sorry to say but those days are almost gone. Momentummachines is about to introduce the burger flipping machine that will toss out these employees and will also cut back on expensive real estate. They state that the restaurant industry (no pun intended) is the most labor intensive industry in the US and that their machine can save $9 Billion in wages per year.
Earlier this year we mentioned that sophisticated robots are finding their way into more and more parts of our daily life and not so daily life wondering if the Luddites would eventually be right. And now it is the fast food sector that is about to be robotized. Momentummachines elaborates on potential job loss:
“The issue of machines and job displacement has been around for centuries and economists generally accept that technology like ours actually causes an increase in employment. The three factors that contribute to this are 1. the company that makes the robots must hire new employees, 2. the restaurant that uses our robots can expand their frontiers of production which requires hiring more people, and 3. the general public saves money on the reduced cost of our burgers. This saved money can then be spent on the rest of the economy. We take these issues very seriously so please feel free to tell us how we can help with this transition.”
Somehow the first factor could also imply more robots instead of humans and even factor two could be done by using more robots and IT. Arguable, yes, but not as arguable that burgers will become even cheaper.
At The METISfiles we believe the restaurant industry is a hospitality business and machines so far have nothing to offer. But since there are vending machines all over public and private spots such as train stations, gas stations, malls, etc, you can see burger machines popping up in 24h areas and places. There is nothing wrong with catering burgers in an unmanned gas station at 3 a.m. In these situations having food fast is far more important than hospitality. Yes, there will certainly be demand for it. But replacing those happy fast food hotspots all together is not going to happen any time soon. The proof of this concept is of course in the eating.