Source: Chipotle staffing back at pre-pandemic levels, company is exploring automation, CEO says

As noted here many times in the past, automation is coming to fast food. We’ve seen it first with mobile app ordering and kiosk ordering at McDonald’s, even tablet ordering at some restaurants. But automation is also moving to the food prep side. Eventually, fewer workers will be needed to keep a fast-food joint running.

Have you ever counted how many people work in a fast-food restaurant? Based on my observations, it tends to be 6 to 9 people. Last summer, stopped in a Taco Bell with only 3 workers – even though there were few customers, service was very slow (20 minutes) – and that’s because they were half staffed, unable to hire the needed staff.

A typical Starbucks seems to be about 4-6 workers depending on the size and time of day.