Fast food restaurants with robot chefs, because they can’t find enough employees

Cheeseburgers, hamburgers and hot dogs will be grilled (Credit: iStock)


American restaurants are in the service of robots to make up for a shortage of fast-food workers.

Companies all over the world more and more on robots to reduce running costs and fast-food joints are at the forefront of the robot revolution.

Earlier this year we saw Flippy the burger-flipping robot take up residence in a California hamburger restaurant.

And now US hamburger chain Wendy’s has begun with the installation of self-cleaning ovens in some shops, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meaty restaurant chain Arby’s also uses of smart ovens, which can cook roast beef, and then switch to a “holding” mode.

This means that employees cook food for the next day the night before, then come at 7 a.m. to start roasting.

It is a surprising answer to a serious shortage of fast-food workers in the pond.

“I’ve never seen the job market this tight,” said Scotty Murphy, COO for Dunkin’ Donuts, speaking to the WSJ.

“We spend a lot of time educating people and a month later they walk out the door.”

The U.S. hospitality industry had 844,000 open positions in April of this year, a record high.

The industry accounts for about one in eight jobs in America.

Dunkin’ Donuts already has some automated processes – like the production of the expiry label for food, and the measure of the quality of the coffee.

“I don’t have to be constantly worried about the other, smaller tasks which are annoying,” said Alexandra Guajardo, the morning shift leader for a Dunkin’ Donuts shop in California:

“I can focus on other things that my attention in the restaurant.”

According to a study in 2013 by the University of Oxford, food service jobs belongs to the 20% most automatable of 700 occupations studied.

And research of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the preparation of food are faced with the highest probability of automation under 88 industries.

“In this market, employees will leave if they have a bad day,” Patrick Sugrue, chief executive of Saladworks, told the wall street journal.

“If that happens, this technology makes it easier to deal with.

“Waiting times go up as a result of the short staffing is a fast way to kill a brand.”

Earlier this year, Flippy the burger-flipping robot go to work at CaliBurger in Pasadena, California.

The food prep bot can flip burger patties, and then remove them from the grill when they are ready.

Flippy does not look much like a fast-food employee, but he is actually just a giant mechanical arm with the joints.

The bot is powered by an AI brain that uses computer vision to identify and monitor hamburgers.

It can be the difference between a fried patty, a cooked burger, and even a cheese burger.

Flippy knows what a sandwich looks like, and it can identify the top and bottom rolls and on the inside and the outside of the bun.

Better yet, Flippy knows how to switch between spatulas when moving between raw meat and cooked meat.

And he can even do the cleaning the utensils while cooking, and wipe the surface of the grill with a scraper.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.



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