The fast food industry in America is becoming more automated year by year. The New American has reported that companies would be interested in automation hardware and software for the future of delivering food, due to heightened employee wages in the United States.
Eatsa, a restaurant in San Francisco, has a human kitchen staff that make the food but the process of ordering food is completely automated. There is no front-of-house liaison that takes the orders and delivers it to the kitchen staff, instead, the computer tells them what the order is.
Andy Puzder is the CEO of a restaurant chain in the States called ‘Carl’s Jr’ and has been quoted by the media saying, “Millenials like not seeing people. I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks…and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”
There are critics of automation software at places like restaurants where a human face isn’t seen but rather a computer. A Facebook comment on the New American’s website read: “Are we raising a generation of antisocial, hermit, misanthropes?”
The Univeristy of Oxford published a study in 2013 named Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food. They concluded that it was extremely likely – up to 92% certainty – that jobs in the fast food industry would be replaced due to automation.
Olo is a company that designs and builds mobile ordering technology for restaurants. The CEO, Noah Glass spoke to the media, saying: “I fully believe that it will seem crazy, even just two or three years from now, that we used to wait in long lines until we got our turn, and then told [a cashier] what we wanted, and had them punch it into a machine for us.”
Puzder is the one on the forefront of undermining the minimum wage increases and stated that “its not rocket science” that automation would overtake actual labor. He said: “Machines are always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
Will fast food become even faster and cheaper thanks to automation? Only time will tell.