Meet “Smart Restaurant”: The Minimum-Wage-Crushing, Burger-Flipping Robot

This is the best argument against amnesty for illegal aliens.

Zero Hedge – by Tyler Durden

With a seemingly endless line of talking-heads willing to ignore essentially every study that has been undertaken with regard the effects of raising the minimum-wage; and propose what is merely populist vote-getting ‘benefits’ for the ever-increasing not-1% who benefitted from Ben Bernnake’s bubbles – we thought the following burger-flipping robot was a perfect example of unintended consequences for the fast food industry’s workers.  

With humans needing to take breaks, have at least 4 weekend days off per month, and demanding ever-increasing minimum-wage for a job that was never meant to provide a ‘living-wage’, Momentum Machines – a San Francisco-based robotics company has unveiled the ‘Smart Restaurants’ machine which is capable of making ~360 ‘customized’ gourmet burgers per hour without the aid of a humanFirst Jamba Juice,then Applebees, next McDonalds…

As Brian Merchant ( @bcmerchant ) explains (via The Burning Platform blog),

Meet the Robot That Makes 360 Gourmet Burgers Per Hour

No human hand touched this hamburger. It was made entirely by robots


One robot, rather—a 24 square foot gourmet-hamburger-flipping behemoth built by Momentum Machines. It looks like this:

The San Francisco-based robotics company debuted its burger-preparing machine last year. It can whip up hundreds of burgers an hour, take custom orders, and it uses top-shelf ingredients for its inputs. Now Momentum is proposing a chain of ‘smart restaurants’ that eschew human cooks altogether.

Food Beast points us to the Momentum’s official release, where the company blares:

“Fast food doesn’t have to have a negative connotation anymore. With our technology, a restaurant can offer gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices. Our alpha machine replaces all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant. It does everything employees can do except better.”

And what might this robotic burger cook of the future do better than the slow, inefficient, wage-sucking line cooks of yore?

  • It slices toppings like tomatoes and pickles only immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.
  • …custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground after you place your order? No problem.
  • It’s more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.

Furthermore, the “labor savings allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients and the gourmet cooking techniques make the ingredients taste that much better.” Hear that? Without all those cumbersome human workers, your hamburger will betwice as good. For the same cost.

I don’t doubt this is where we’re heading; robots are making inroads in manufacturing, farming, and they’re doing more domestic work around the house, too. Yeah, robots are taking our jobs, and it’s not a question of if, but when and how. Economists often treat the service industry as some last bastion of downsize-proof labor, but, clearly, robots will make sandwiches and take orders, too.

A future where we can get gourmet burgers, cheaply and on the quick, sounds pretty nice. But that future will also have structural unemployment, unless we start taking major strides to rethink and reform how we work in a world where robots are doing much of the heavy lifting.If we can, with robots flipping all the burgers, and the right social policies, maybe at least a semi-techno-utopia is on the way

Of course, in a world of de minimus capital costs (courtesy of an apparently job-creating-mandated Fed), why wouldn’t the McDonalds of the world adopt such a strategy. The outcome, as we explained before, is all too obvious…

What happens after that should be clear to everyone: more unemployment, lower wages for the remaining employees, worse worker morale, but even higher profits to holders of capital. And so on. Because in a world in which technology makes the unqualified worker utterely irrelevant, this is what is known as “progress.”


11 thoughts on “Meet “Smart Restaurant”: The Minimum-Wage-Crushing, Burger-Flipping Robot

  1. Hmmmm….,though sure can make a burger ect.,top shelf ingredient inputs,please tell me what fast food joint that would be?

    1. Good point. I’m sure they will figure a way to have one person do the job of maintaining all of the any robot workers that they may install in the future as the system evolves like we know it will. And if the customer has any problems, you just tell the customer to talk to the robot manager. You know, the one that you just have to take a minute to restart here.

      Brilliant customer service! And don’t forget the robots will have to be bi-lingual which means,

      Robot: “Welcome to McDonalds! Para espanol, hablar el numero dos”.

      God help us all.

    1. Yea I can see it now,

      Cop: “Yea and I want that machine to serve me the super-sized burger. Not one of them spittin’ employees you got workin’ back there or I’ll put you in handcuffs, ya hear?”

  2. If you think going through the drive through is bad now…..? What was it Joe Pesci said about drive through ….. oh ya “ you always get f@#ked when you go through the drive through”. Now you tell a machine how you want your burger and you’ll get the same service as the consumer help lines. WHAT? NO DAMMIT I SAID MUSTARD.

    1. “They F**k you at the drive-thru. They know that after they give it to you, you’re not going to go back in there, so they F**k you at the drive-thru.” lol

      (Joe Pesci, Lethal Weapon 2)

    2. Yep, Redhorse, I was thinking the same thing.

      Robot: “Say 1 for English, para espanol hablar el numero dos”.

      Customer: “1 please.”

      Robot: “What would you like to order?”

      Customer: “I want a cheesburger, large fries and a small Pepsi”

      Robot: “I’m sorry, I did not catch your order. Please say the items slowly one by one so that I can process your order more efficiently.”

      Customer: “I want a cheeseburger….large fries…..small Pepsi”

      Robot: “I’m sorry, did you say hamburger or cheeseburger?”

      Customer: “Get me a supervisor!”

      Robot: “It sounded like you said, “Supervisor”. Is this correct?”

      Customer: “YES!”

      Robot: “I’m sorry, let me connect you to the supervisor. In order to connect you to the right person, say 1 for clerk, 2 for team lead or 3 for manager.”

      Customer: “MANAGER DAMMIT!”

      Robot: “Ok, let me get you a manager. Your approximate wait time is 10 minutes. Please stay on the line as the next available manager will be with you shortly.”

      (Music playing, followed by the message, “At McDonalds, we value our customers and thank you for choosing us for your dining experience. Please continue to wait on hold. We will be with you shortly”)

      Customer: “SON OF A B#$%#(#%#E@)MOTHER(#@))@#(%#()%(@)#(%I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as you give up, drive out of the drive thru line and speed away in frustration.

      Meanwhile, the guy behind you comes up and is still waiting for your supervisor because the computer does not know that he is a new customer and unnecessarily long lines continue to build-up to no end.

      If you think that’s bad, try calling AT&T for service. I’m ready to hang someone.

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