We know the McDonalds employees who are clamoring for higher hourly wages will usher in more human replacement automation at their restaurants at some point in the future. I know ADEP has robotics now involved in the preparation of food at various big and small food companies, but I wonder if there is any product out there that uses ADEP robotics that could fit in some application inside McDonalds type restaurants themselves. I am assuming McDonalds has had a highly automated restaurant prototype design working for years, but none has been deployed for a trial yet.
If Seattle fast workers demanding a big raise in the minimum wage get their way, they'll soon be replaced by robots says KIRO Radio's John Curley, who points to growing automation as a warning to those who want $15 an hour or more to flip burgers.
A group of local fast food workers recently staged a one-day walkout and are calling on the Seattle City Council to increase the minimum wage from $9.19 per hour - the highest in the country - to $15 an hour.
"We're asking for $15 because in order to support one person in a one bedroom apartment you need to make $14.88. We don't make anywhere near that and we're all on food stamps," 23-year-old Amanda Larson told KIRO Radio's Linda Thomas recently as she worked the counter at a Seattle Arby's.
But restaurant owners argue they simply can't afford it. With technology continuing to allow restaurants around the world to replace people with robots and computers, Curley says look no farther than several examples in Japan and Europe as a sign of what's to come if the Seattle workers get their way.
A noted Japanese sushi-chain has robots making food while customers order on a touch screen. A conveyer belt delivers their food and a computer tracks customer purchases and automates their bill payment at the end.
"There are no managers in this restaurant," Curley says. "The managers are all in a centrally located place that are just simply watching video screens. So they've been able to cut out almost all the help."
Several years ago, McDonald's installed thousands of touch-screen kiosks at stores across Europe, replacing cashiers entirely. The company has reportedly also tried out automated burger flippers to further cut back on employees.
It's not far fetched. A Chinese restaurateur has developed a robotic chef now found in a number of noodle bars, further eliminating the need for humans. With the robot chefs costing just $1,500, they're far cheaper than employees and don't demand raises or breaks.
The McDonalds issue is just the start of the demands for higher wages, but what they fail to realize is that their job is replaceable, with robots. They should be happy to have a job and if they want more money, get educated or move up to a higher class restaurant. McDonalds is not a lifelong career, unless you are in management. Its a starter job to build work experience.
Look for robotic stock to get hot again, real soon.
Modernization Act Boon for Robot Food Handlers
Unexpected outcome of 2011 law spurs future robot-only food industry
By Tom Green
October 05, 2013
Mega changes afoot for a mega industry
An unforeseen consequence—collateral damage, if you will—of the Food Modernization Act of 2011 (officially, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Public Law 353), has created and is continuing to foster a mega opportunity for the overhaul of all food production in the U.S.—by robots!
Since we all have to eat—frequently, it goes without saying that the food industry in the U.S. must be one of staggering proportions, and it most surely is. According to Plunkett Research, U.S. consumers spend approximately $1.8T annually on food, or nearly 10 percent of the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Additionally, 16.5M people are employed in the food industry.
According to Glenn Hewson, Adept Technology’s senior vp of marketing, the impact of the law is moving steadily across the entire food industry. He told reporters at the recent Pack Expo that food producers have to meet the Food Modernization Act’s safety sanitation requirements, or else.
Standards previously applicable only to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) for meat, poultry and dairy, have now been extended into every aspect of food production. “If I’m picking apples,” he said, “I’m under the same microscope as meat, poultry and dairy.”