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As protesters across the country call for the fast-food chains to raise their wages, a number of companies have begun experimenting with new technology that could significantly reduce the number of restaurant workers in the years to come.

Restaurant industry backers warn that a sharp rise in wages would be counterproductive, increasing the appeal of automation and putting more workers at risk of job loss.

 "Faced with a $15 wage mandate, restaurants have to reduce the cost of service," blared an ad in The Wall Street Journal last year from the Employment Policies Institute, which supports corporate interests. "That means fewer entry-level jobs and more automated alternatives -- even in the kitchen."

Other industry observers aren't so definitive, noting that it takes time to introduce new technology and that human interaction has always been a major component of the hospitality business. What's clear at least is that software and machines will play an increased role in our dining experiences going forward.

Panera Bread is the latest chain to introduce automated service, announcing last month that it plans to bring self-service ordering kiosks as well as a mobile ordering option to all its locations within the next three years. The news follows moves from Chili's and Applebee's to place tablets on their tables, allowing diners to order and pay without interacting with human wait staff at all.

Panera, which spent $42 million developing its new system, claims it isn't planning any job cuts as a result of the technology, but some analysts see this kind of shift as unavoidable for the industry.

In a widely cited paper released last year, University of Oxford researchers estimated that there is a 92% chance that fast-food preparation and serving will be automated in the coming decades.

Delivery drivers could be replaced en masse by self-driving cars, which are likely to hit the market within a decade or two, or even drones.

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i say go for the robots.

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The robots will come no matter what, until then, pay your employees a living wage.

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The robots will come no matter what, until then, pay your employees a living wage.

But people are not willing to pay more for their burgers.

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Robots will be smarter than the majority of fast food employees anyway.

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But people are not willing to pay more for their burgers.

So?

 

Robots will be smarter than the majority of fast food employees anyway.

Robots do not have intelligence, they will just follow orders consistently.

 

I can't wait for these stores to become huge walk in vending machines once their quality turns to the same level as 7-11 they will lose dozens of customers as they could just have gone to 7-11.

 

I hope the days of cheap horrible food are numbered, tired of people being mistreated due to horribly wrong stereotypes.

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These robots can then be programmed to slap you across the face if it recognizes that you've eaten fast food twice in a week using facial recognition. :huh:  

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Robots do not have intelligence, they will just follow orders consistently.

 

This is why they are used so often in any situation they can be. It is their strength, not their weakness.

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And when the robot breaks down or just fails to work... what then?

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And when the robot breaks down or just fails to work... what then?

 

A guy who deserves his Job comes and fixes it.

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This is why they are used so often in any situation they can be. It is their strength, not their weakness.

I didn't say it was their weakness.

 

 

A guy who deserves his Job comes and fixes it.

Right, because any customer service job that isn't being replaced by technology is a job no one deserves?

 

What happens when we get rid of all positions that require no education? Where will all these people work? Physical labor should still be compensated a living wage.

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Right, because any customer service job that isn't being replaced by technology is a job no one deserves?

 

That's not at all what I said.

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A part of this already exist in large shops called Self-serve checkouts.

 

Some stores don't have normal checkouts, only self-serve.

 

At a Woolworths store where I work, there are 6 self-serve and 15 manned checkouts, giving customers choice on how to complete their shopping. I admit I use the self-serve even though I am trained to operate the manned checkouts.

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And when the robot breaks down or just fails to work... what then?

 

you fix it... what else would you do?

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Will robots screw up my orders, too?

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And eventually they will become self aware and demand to be paid $15 an hour.

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This self serve business doesn't solve anything!! I go to the supermarket to buy my food not scan it and pack it as well, likewise im not going to a burger joint and serving myself just so you can cheap out on labour costs yet charge me the same or higher prices anyway!

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So?

 

Robots do not have intelligence <snip>

I think that was kind of his point, which I agree with.  At least a robot isn't going to spit in my food or mess up my (usually very simple) order.

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Will robots screw up my orders, too?

Only if it runs on Windows. ;)

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Hopefully they can stick a burger together properly so I don't have to preassemble it myself before eating it. I'm looking at you McDonalds!

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Hopefully they can stick a burger together properly so I don't have to preassemble it myself before eating it. I'm looking at you McDonalds!

Anyone that eat in McDonald's deserves to get sick. Go to better alternatives than eating in a piece of trash restaurant like McDonald's.

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...place tablets on their tables, allowing diners to order and pay without interacting with human wait staff at all.

 

 

There are restaurants in Singapore that already have this implemented. No more waiting for lines at the counter. Sit at a table, order food through the tablet, eat and pay for the food, and you're done.

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Anyone that eat in McDonald's deserves to get sick. Go to better alternatives than eating in a piece of trash restaurant like McDonald's.

 

Wow thanks... I'll eat wherever I fancy eating. Why on earth do I deserve to get sick?

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Wow thanks... I'll eat wherever I fancy eating. Why on earth do I deserve to get sick?

You eating in a restaurant where is known to lack quality and hygiene. You can eat in whatever restaurant you want, just an observation.

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