Automation will place increasingly large roles in fast food services:
Two Panera Bread locations in upstate New York are testing artificial intelligence technology that takes drive-thru orders.
Source: Panera Bread tests artificial intelligence technology in drive-thru lanes
We already have
- Self-checkout at retail stores (outsources labor to the customer)
- Self-order kiosks (McDonald’s outsources labor to the customer)
- Self-order apps on phones (Starbucks, Wendy’s, most chains)
- Self-order menu selection tablets at some restaurants
- Of course, online web-based order entry systems for many restaurants, especially those that provide “to-go” services like Asian food restaurants
- Automated robotic cooking systems: Restaurants using robotic cooking systems – Coldstreams: Business Tech Global
- Automated delivery robots: Chili’s restaurants adding semi-autonomous robots – Coldstreams: Business Tech Global
- Nearly fully automated food services: Fully automated restaurant eliminates all labor
- And now, self-order via voice at drive up order windows
Meanwhile, California is passing a new law that turns over fast food worker salaries and working conditions to a state-run committee staffed by union reps, workers, state regulators, and a couple of franchise operators. Minimum wage might go up to $22/hour in 2023. How many jobs do you think will end up being replaced by automation?