Auto Robot Chefs are Coming for all of Those $15 an Hour Burger Flipping Jobs

DooKey

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A group of MIT graduates wanted to open up a restaurant and teamed up with a Michelin-starred chef to do so and while they were at it decided it would be pretty cool to showcase robotic woks as part of the deal. The woks don't really do more than cook precut/portioned ingredients and then self-clean before the next batch, but there are many things they don't do like spit in your food or pick something up off the floor and throw it in the pan. This isn't new in the industry anymore and many fast food chains are starting to invest in robots because they have higher quality control and they aren't low skilled volatile labor working in their restaurants. So keep on hoping for that $15 an hour union fast food job and see what happens. While you're contemplating your new career watch this video of the woks in action.

Watch the video here.

“The openness of the design was something we knew we wanted from the beginning,” said Brady Knight, a co-founder and engineer. “It is kind of a show. It’s fun to see what’s going on behind the scenes. We didn’t want to hide anything because we think what we made is pretty cool.”
 

cageymaru

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Damn you won't even be able to wash dishes if you are short on money to pay for your meal in the future. I guess some robot attack dog will rip you a new one for not paying.

Also I think that all restaurants should go robotic. People shouldn't be able to work in industries that refuse to pay a living wage.
 

arnemetis

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Damn you won't even be able to wash dishes if you are short on money to pay for your meal in the future. I guess some robot attack dog will rip you a new one for not paying.

Also I think that all restaurants should go robotic. People shouldn't be able to work in industries that refuse to pay a living wage.
If you're choosing to live off working at mcdonalds, it can be a living wage - you just have to lower your standard of living, and cut your expenses. A lot of restaurants will end up goign this way, but the expectation that every job for a person can get you a nice apartment, expensive phone and cable bills, etc. is bs. But this isn't soapbox, moving on.

On topic more specifically, it does address the failure of the low end worker to properly prepare a meal without doing something disgusting or messing it up. It's obviously the future for jobs that aren't currently better served by robots for the sole reason of the technology simply not being there.
 

Lord Nassirbannipal

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If this were possible, then it wouldn't take a $15/hr minimum wage.

Fast food companies would have long-ago implemented this if it were possible. They wouldn't wait for a wage increase. The goal of any business is to maximize profits. If the ability to automate saves money and returns a bigger profit they they'll do it no matter what the minimum wage is so the idea that lower wages are stopping them from doing it needs to stop because it's bs.
 

ymer

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This is only the 291939 time that we have had a burger flipping robot headline, maybe this time it's for real.
 

cbroseinak

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Think of all the savings!! AND this is good for the environment too!! Less people driving to work using all that nasty gasoline, less people using public transportation to get to their jobs, think of all the good seats on those busses and light rail!! . I cant wait for all that free distributed wealth money from the government!! Can I get mine in Bitcoins please?
 

The Mad Atheist

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All good, stopped eating fast food years ago.

But when skynet takes over we’ll have to worry about bigger things than spit in food.
Skynet cared about humanity so it decided to nuke us because it didn't want to see us die off softly by our own hands. :p

Anyway, this'll be interesting as the earth population continue to rise and more workers get replaced with robotic, what will happen.
 

cageymaru

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If you're choosing to live off working at mcdonalds, it can be a living wage - you just have to lower your standard of living, and cut your expenses. A lot of restaurants will end up goign this way, but the expectation that every job for a person can get you a nice apartment, expensive phone and cable bills, etc. is bs. But this isn't soapbox, moving on.

On topic more specifically, it does address the failure of the low end worker to properly prepare a meal without doing something disgusting or messing it up. It's obviously the future for jobs that aren't currently better served by robots for the sole reason of the technology simply not being there.

I was just thinking more of those workers being able to pay for basic healthcare for themselves and the accidental child that inevitably happens. I was assuming that they were smart enough to know they can't pay for Cable TV but internet is well within their means because of programs such as Lifeline. With basic internet all of their family's educational and entertainment needs can be met if they are diligent in looking for options.

Again I think that robots should take those jobs so that people can stop thinking that they have a viable economic solution working at low wage jobs such as this. Back in the late 1800's everyone thought that horses were going to be a viable mode of transportation for city and country folks alike. The "robot" of its time was the automobile. They replaced the horse and carriage jobs with automobile jobs. Same needs to be done in the fast food industry in my opinion.

In the future if robotic drones can replace the Post Office delivery workers then it needs to be done. Everyone will feel anxiety for a little bit, but then robotic drone maintenance facilities will open and the job market will shift again to fill those new positions. Again just my humble opinion based on the historical occurrences of the past that have shaped our current job availability.
 

BreezeDM

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Minimum wage was $5.15 when I was younger in the late 90s. Ramen noodles and pop tarts cost the same now. Lots of things like Computers, TVs, tools, and appliances cost less now. Only a few things like Gas, milk, and candy bars cost more. If I go to fast food there is about a 20% chance my order is wrong, I don't even know why people bother.
 

pcgeekesq

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I got a fully-automatic espresso machine (Gaggia Anima) for home, stopped drinking the swill at Starbucks, and saved the cost of the machine back in four months.
It's a trend: by 2028, I expect I'll have remodeled my kitchen to automate everything, using technology developed to replace $15/hr restaurant workers.
It will be awesome.
 

dark_reign

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The goal of any business is to maximize profits. If the ability to automate saves money and returns a bigger profit they they'll do it no matter what the minimum wage is so the idea that lower wages are stopping them from doing it needs to stop because it's bs.
This only works if they can keep the price dirt cheap. $8 for a salad? :LOL:
 

ButtonPuncher

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It's just basic math. Fast food joints can't double their employee's pay and not double the cost of the product. I already think that $8 for a meal at McD's is too much. $16? Screw that.

A bunch of adults that want to get paid adult wages for a high schooler's job. That's not living in reality.
 

vegeta535

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Damn you won't even be able to wash dishes if you are short on money to pay for your meal in the future. I guess some robot attack dog will rip you a new one for not paying.

Also I think that all restaurants should go robotic. People shouldn't be able to work in industries that refuse to pay a living wage.
I am tired of this damn living wage shit. How do you determine what is a living wage. I can tell you $15 an hour is not a living wage for me. I made something of myself tho and earned what I got. A person that can't live within their means then it is never going to be a living wage. People are too damn irresponsible. Instead of thinking about their basic needs like food and shelter they go off and buy $1000 iPhone every year. Fancy clothes, jewely a Cadillac Escalade that they can't afford. Give them more money and they will just waste it more.
 
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cageymaru

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I am tired of this damn living wage shit. How do you determine what is a living wage. I can tell you $15 an hour is not a living wage for me. I made something of myself tho and earned what I got A person that can't live within their means then it is never going to be a living wage. People are too damn irresponsible. Instead of thinking about their basic needs like food and shelter they go off and buy $1000 iPhone every year. Fancy clothes, jewely a Cadillac Escalade that they can't afford. Give them more money and they will just waste it more.

I didn't say that they need more money for flipping burgers. I was trying to say that they need to replace those workers with robots because flipping burgers doesn't pay enough. Like you said $15 an hour isn't a living wage for you. So replacing those jobs that the employer doesn't feel are worth paying someone enough to meet the minimum living standards for a geographic region with robots would do those workers a helluva favor! Nobody is really going to lose a job; the job market would just react and creates new jobs to service those new fancy robots for example. So maybe some guys in a field NOT related to fast food worker quit their manual labor job to get a $35 an hour robot service position. This in turn creates new openings for some of the fast food workers to fill those vacated positions and they might pay $25 an hour?


Here is another example of the market reacting to a shift in the jobs market. Amazon has been putting brick and mortar stores on life support for quite a bit of time now. A consequence of Amazon doing mail order business is that the customer no longer puts gas into their cars and travel long distances to pick up their product from a B&M store. It is in fact stored in a warehouse usually in another state such as Kentucky and then shipped via the Trucking Industry to a distribution hub much closer to the customer. So now there is a HUGE jobs market for over the road drivers within the Trucking Industry. These are jobs that pay up to $200,000 a year and require minimal education and training. The training can even be free and done on the job because the demand for workers is so high to fulfill Amazon shipping demands. There are literally thousands and thousands of openings in that industry and anyone that can drive a car can drive a delivery truck. Hell the USPS now delivers on Sunday around here to meet Amazon delivery demands. I bet that up to $200,000 a year is more intriguing to you than begging for a raise to make $15 an hour flipping burgers!

In my opinion it is a win win situation if the fast food industry is replaced with robots in the future.
 

tetris42

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Minimum wage was $5.15 when I was younger in the late 90s. Ramen noodles and pop tarts cost the same now. Lots of things like Computers, TVs, tools, and appliances cost less now. Only a few things like Gas, milk, and candy bars cost more.
Yeah, and rent. You know, the majority largest expense of most people.
 

nutzo

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It's just basic math. Fast food joints can't double their employee's pay and not double the cost of the product. I already think that $8 for a meal at McD's is too much. $16? Screw that.

And that's the problem.
If the price gets too high, business slows down as people go elsewhere.

We rarely go out to eat dinner any more, it's just too expensive.
Even fast food has gotten too expensive. Hamburgers I used to get for less than $2 (with a coupon) are now almost $6
Years ago I used to go out for lunch (usually low cost fast food like the dollar menus or a cheap rive bowl), but I rarely go out now, instead I bring my lunch.
I can usually get frozen dinners on sale for around $2, better and cheaper than fast food.

For dinner, I can buy a couple nice steaks and the rest for less than the price of a fancy burger.
A $3 pound of hamburger makes enough Spaghetti or Lasagna for a couple dinners.

Or if I'm being cheap, a Costco chicken that will give us 3 meals.

I can feed my family for a week, for less than the cost of an average restaurant dinner.
 

nutzo

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In my opinion it is a win win situation if the fast food industry is replaced with robots in the future.

Likely lower costs for food, and more high tech jobs, installing and repairing the robots.
Also, since the food will likely need more preparation so the robots can handle it correctly, this will mean more jobs on the back end.

When I was in high school, there was more prep work done at the fast food stores.
My brother used to get up early to cook the beans at the local Taco Bell.
Years go they did away with those jobs. It's now done at a central location and they deliver the prepared food more often.
It's more warm up & put together than cooking.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Part of the problem that robotics solve is a worker shortage.

All across the country restaurants are having a terribly difficult time hiring kitchen workers. Servers are easier, as they get tips, but kitchen staff is near impossible to hire, because at the rates they are paid, they simply can't afford to live in the cities where the jobs are.

Some would say that raising the minimum wage is the solution, but I disagree. It is a bandaid at best, instead you have to solve the true root cause. The real solution is to focus on education and make sure that everyone can get it, and that the education offered meets the skilled labor needs of the economy. Then we can just let these robots take care of the unskilled tasks.

But government always finds minimum wages easier to pass, because they can point their fingers at big bad industry not paying enough, and passing these laws has no immediate funding tied to it.

Solving the real problem of making sure people have the skills needed to compete in a market requiring increasingly specialized skills is much more difficult, and MUCH more expensive, and there is rarely an appetite for fixing it.

As always, this applies:

wp-1488703847913.jpg
 

TordanGow

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It's just basic math. Fast food joints can't double their employee's pay and not double the cost of the product. I already think that $8 for a meal at McD's is too much. $16? Screw that.

You aren't very good at basic math if this is what you think. Do you think labor is 100% of the product cost at a fast food restaurant? The food and it's delivery must be free, and so are product packing materials. Taxes on the physical property or leasing must be free. Advertising is free. Franchise fees don't exist. Grounds maintenance must be free too. etc...

Businesses like to scare you because they don't like to pay wages at all. Here is the reality:

Typically in a restaurant labor is approximately 30% of the cost for the product. So if you doubled wages product cost would have to go up ~15%-20% to offset and maintain the same raw profit figure. In other words to double wages and be of no financial impact on the business your $8 meal would need to go up to $9.20-$9.60. While nobody likes to pay more, the real math paints a different picture than " the price will double". To note, I'm not sure how labor breaks out on a cost percentage basis for fast food restaurants as a sub-segment in the food industry, so I'm using the food industry average. Additionally, we are talking about doubling wages here which would likely make wages higher than $15/hour.

Also, this is location specific, most fast food places where I live pay $12ish per hour, so the real cost to the consumer would be smaller than above. Finally, I don't have a personal stake in the fight. I don't work in fast food and I very very seldom eat it - maybe once or twice a year. Either side "winning" will not really impact me.

EDIT: I had someone ask why not 30% increase in cost if you are doubling wages. Wages are not all an employee costs. There are many other relatively fixed costs that proportionally are higher for lower paid workers. Think payroll processing, etc. It doesn't cost any more to write a $500/week check to a fast food worker than it does to write a $1500/week check to an engineer (the actual process of writing the check, not the dollar value on the check). If the weekly cost to hand you that slip of paper is $10 from a payroll processing company, proportionally it's a higher percentage of the low paid workers cost than a higher paid worker.
 
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Mut1ny

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Eh.. blame all those people who want to "live" off a McDonalds job instead of the teenager/college kid/retiree whos just doing it for a little extra spending cash

Dude work is work. I don't get why people think that these jobs are just easy toss aways. I worked fast food for years (before realizing easier better paying jobs DO exist) and let me tell you, IT'S NOT FUCKING EASY. Sure, if you want to be a good for nothing piece of shit at your job you can, true of any job, but you won't be there long...I've seen people with "better" jobs and much better paid be lazier and more worthless than any co-worker I had. If you actually give a shit about good customer service and have a shred of self-respect then these jobs are just as hard as any other bullshit you do that makes you think you're special.

I'd love to know what people do that they think they're better than the people that make food for you, serve it to you and 1000's of others daily, every day, while running around getting shit done.

Yes, these jobs should pay better, but I also think the standards of service and quality of employee needs to rise as well.
 

oldmanbal

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Welp it's a good time to get a low level robotics / engineering degree, since it's pretty much going to offer gap-less employment for the next generation.
 

sfsuphysics

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Dude work is work. I don't get why people think that these jobs are just easy toss aways. I worked fast food for years (before realizing easier better paying jobs DO exist) and let me tell you, IT'S NOT FUCKING EASY.
Never said it was a "toss away" job or that it is "easy", I simply said that this used to be a job that was aimed towards someone who wants a little money in their pocket, i.e. high school students, or possibly community college students, but like you said work is work and the people that feel they need to use this as their job and now all those high school students who used to do it don't do it because there are no openings because some dude is trying to get 40 hrs in every week. Hell I remember being when I was a kid I delivered papers, then one day a noticed this Mexican family doing the same thing I did on my bike bunch of kids/wives/whatever on the back of a truck doing the same thing I used to do on a bike, no longer had a job after that and a job that almost historically was aimed at putting money in some kids pocket was now being done by a bunch of people under one roof, who presumably had a MUCH larger area they could service.

I'd love to know what people do that they think they're better than the people that make food for you, serve it to you and 1000's of others daily, every day, while running around getting shit done.
Ok lets get one thing straight, we're talking fast food employees? Because they don't make food for me, they assemble food for, they ain't making shit, all the food is made in some centralized kitchen and then shipped to them, sure they apply heat of some sort to it but my mom did that shit as the school lunch lady, she wasn't a cook she was a reheater. Second, that's a service I pay for, it's not offered to me through the kindness of their hearts, I'm not interested in supporting their family, like I said I am more than happy putting money in some high school kid's pocket for that level of "service".
 

Mut1ny

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Assumptions and inaccuracies

Sigh..."real" jobs don't exist everywhere and for everyone once they past 18 years of age. Some people do what they have too and fast food is one of them. That's all I'll say on that...they work and put in hours just like you do.

As for fast food not making food that's also COMPLETE bullshit and you either don't know what you're talking about or are just making shit up. You think they all get their tomatoes pre-sliced? You think places like Carl's Jr or KFC don't sit there and make the chicken? No, a lot of food at fast food isn't just reheated, it's prepared and cooked. The stuff that IS prepared is the same stuff that's prepared at any sit down restaurant. Just because a place is fancy and costs 10x more doesn't mean everything is fresh and made by professional chefs or something lol...it's still Sara Lee or Sysco or some other brand you've heard of.

At the end of the day, people need jobs and need money to survive, if all they have is fast food then I see no problem with that. If you have a REAL job then what do you care as you SHOULD be getting paid more, have better benefits, etc...if you DON'T then what are YOU doing wrong as a person? Not you specifically but just in general.
 
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Arcygenical

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The upcoming 15$ minimum wage is wreaking havoc on my industry here in Toronto. 15$ isn't a working wage, and almost the entirety of my job managing a kitchen is making sure I get the best talent for the absolute lowest salary.

I am always looking and always hiring a new staff member - in a small team of <10 - at the expense of the job of a lesser skilled member. Talent upcycling is rampant in my industry now There is no longer any job security for a skilled labour sector, one that requires education (at least a 1 year if not 2 year community college degree minimum).

As these technological advances push people out of unskilled positions into unemployment, I will receive more and more unskilled applicants for an already unstable workforce. My team being small, can lead to many, many days of 10-11 hr shifts by losing a single member.

Nobody wants to pay for good food anymore. It's everywhere. The market is saturated and the workforce surrounding it is horribly unstable.

This change is inevitable, its shaking up an already unstable industry, and professionals/management are worried.
No machine will ever do what i do (in my lifetime) but it's going to be rough and unstable in the meantime.
 

DukenukemX

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The upcoming 15$ minimum wage is wreaking havoc on my industry here in Toronto. 15$ isn't a working wage, and almost the entirety of my job managing a kitchen is making sure I get the best talent for the absolute lowest salary.

I am always looking and always hiring a new staff member - in a small team of <10 - at the expense of the job of a lesser skilled member. Talent upcycling is rampant in my industry now There is no longer any job security for a skilled labour sector, one that requires education (at least a 1 year if not 2 year community college degree minimum).

As these technological advances push people out of unskilled positions into unemployment, I will receive more and more unskilled applicants for an already unstable workforce. My team being small, can lead to many, many days of 10-11 hr shifts by losing a single member.

Nobody wants to pay for good food anymore. It's everywhere. The market is saturated and the workforce surrounding it is horribly unstable.

This change is inevitable, its shaking up an already unstable industry, and professionals/management are worried.
No machine will ever do what i do (in my lifetime) but it's going to be rough and unstable in the meantime.
I don't understand. So are you unable to find good workers for $15 or are there no good workers? Cause the former has an easy solution.
 

Staples

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Was this supposed to be a news item or a political soapbox post?
hahaha. Got to it first.

Little do people realize, these machines cost them the equivalent of $5 an hour or less. I love people who think people demanding $15 an hour is why their jobs will be replaced. They will be replaced because they are human and robots are cheaper.
 

Mut1ny

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the job market will shift again to fill those new positions.

The problem is, as with all discussions like this, is that the number of jobs is getting lower while the number of people are getting higher. The THOUSANDS of USPS delivery people won't come near, both in number or skill, for "robot factories" to give them all jobs...not even 1% most likely. So while you can sit there and say "screw it replace them with bots!" that's easy for you to say. Be one of those people that lost their job and now can't get another because there are none and then belittle them because they had to get a job at Wendys because it's the only fucking place around them working.

This is the issue with threads like this. People are too stuck up to realize that everything isn't all black and white. We have a crisis on our hands of not having enough GOOD PAYING jobs for every man and woman out there. It's why things like UBI are going to come about or we have to rethink this whole money situation. We need ACTUAL long-term viable solutions for this other than people here just saying "Go get a real job and who cares if you lose it!"

a high schooler's job

Says who? You? You go do that job 8 hours a day and say it's a highschoolers job.

Also LOVE LOVE LOVE how sooooo many people bitch and complain about the quality of service and food at these places but yet DON'T WANT TO PAY MORE AND DON'T THINK THE COMPANY SHOULD PAY MORE BETTER WORKERS!

Funny how that works, huh? It's a highschool job so who give a shit what these people working here go through but wahhhhhh my food is wrong and crappy! Well, you get what you pay for.

That's not living in reality.

You and most the people here aren't living in reality. You're living in your ivory towers thinking the world revolves around you and that $100,000 paying jobs are just fucking everywhere for anyone to get. There's a reason there's so many "professionals" out of work and can't find work...because there's no work that gives them what they want.
 
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_l_

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and so, the teens and elderly who needed those jobs to survive will now decide if they will rob your house while you're away at work
 

Galvin

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This is where things are going. Automation going to replace many jobs, from driving, to cooking, etc.
 

Azphira

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All automation, no jobs, no earned money to buy the automatically made stuff. Without AI singularity, it will be a disaster as the current state of technology will not allow going whole hog with the idea.
 
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