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Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry


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#1 DocM

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 09:58

Bye-bye $15/hr burger flippers.

http://singularityhu...-food-industry/

Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry

I saw the future of work in a San Francisco garage two years ago. Or rather, I was in proximity to the future of work, but happened to be looking the other direction.

At the time, I was visiting a space startup building satellites behind a carport. But just behind them—a robot was cooking up burgers. The inventors of the burger device? Momentum Machines, and they’re serious about fast food productivity.

“Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient,” cofounder Alexandros Vardakostas has said. “It’s meant to completely obviate them.”

The Momentum burger-bot isn’t remotely humanoid. You can forget visions of Futurama’s Bender. It’s more of a burger assembly line. Ingredients are stored in automated containers along the line. Instead of pre-prepared veggies, cheese, and ground beef—the bot chars, slices, dices, and assembles it all fresh.

Why would talented engineers schooled at Berkeley, Stanford, UCSB, and USC with experience at Tesla and NASA bother with burger-bots? Robots are increasingly capable of jobs once thought the sole domain of humans—and that’s a huge opportunity.

Burger robots may improve consistency and sanitation, and they can knock out a rush like nobody’s business. Momentum’s robot can make a burger in 10 seconds (360/hr). Fast yes, but also superior quality. Because the restaurant is free to spend its savings on better ingredients, it can make gourmet burgers at fast food prices.

Or at least, that’s the idea.

Momentum Machines says your average fast food joint spends $135,000 a year on burger line cooks. Employees work in a chaotic kitchen environment that necessitates no-slip shoes in addition to the standard hairnets and aprons.

By replacing human cooks, the machine reduces liability, management duties, and, at just 24 square feet, the overall food preparation footprint. Resources once dedicated to preparation can instead fund better service.

Of course, businesses are free to spend their savings however they like.

For some, that may mean more quality ingredients or services. For others, it might be competing with other restaurants by maintaining the same level of service and ingredients but offering even lower food prices.

But Momentum Machines’ burger-bot isn’t provocative for its anticipated effects on fast food quality. The bot, and other robots like it, may soon replace low-skilled workers in droves. If one machine developed in a garage in San Francisco can do away with an entire kitchen of fast food staff—what other jobs are about to disappear?

Earlier this year, McDonalds employees protested outside the fast food chain’s corporate headquarters in Chicago, demanding higher wages. A robotic kitchen might bring improved pay for the front of the house, and a pay cut to zero for the back. Some fraction of the 3.6 million US fast food jobs might be automated by such technology.

While the burger-bot hasn’t taken anyone’s job yet, Momentum Machines is clearly sensitive to the worry. The firm says they want to help support those who may lose work as a direct effect of restaurants adopting the robot.
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#2 +FiB3R

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:11

And just how do they intend to "help support those who may lose work as a direct effect of restaurants adopting the robot."

 

:rolleyes:



#3 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:13

Anyone remember the old automat's?

 

They didn't last long before, and they won't last now now, either.  People want their food made by people, not a machine.



#4 Steven P.

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:15

Automats are still quite popular in The Netherlands. Do you mean pre-prepared fast food in a wall of little windows with coin slot doors?



#5 Pupik

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:22

And just how do they intend to "help support those who may lose work as a direct effect of restaurants adopting the robot."

 

:rolleyes:

They'll gift them new shoes and send them back to the street marching for $15 per hour salary demand.



#6 Bigkaye

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:23

now they just need to build robots to fill the robots automated containers and they'd be set... at least until one broke down and brought the whole store to a grinding halt



#7 trag3dy

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:25

For some reason I doubt they'd  lower prices and improve quality if these machines became the norm.



#8 Bigkaye

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:27

And just how do they intend to "help support those who may lose work as a direct effect of restaurants adopting the robot."

 

:rolleyes:

 

By expanding their robot line to do the duties of all minimum wage jobs.



#9 JonnyLH

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:36

I thought it said 'Burger Robot Poisoned' to begin with. Thought we had a cyber revolution in the making. 

 

I don't know, if they removed burger flippers, at least we'll get more seasons of Jeremy Kyle.



#10 Raa

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:04

And need we not mention that robots can work 24/7...

 

Farewell employees, we knew thee well.



#11 bigmehdi

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:27

For some reason I doubt they'd  lower prices and improve quality if these machines became the norm.

Maybe the burgers would look a bit more like the photos they are displaying at Mc Donald.



#12 +primortal

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:29

I'm all for progress but I see this coming to a fast food burger join in the near future...

 

"Sorry no burgers today.  Our Burger-bot had broken and no one knows how to use the grill."

 

I'm guessing the managers are going to have to take robotics 101 just in case the burger-bot has a malfunction.



#13 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:29

With driverless cars replacing taxis, robots replacing fast food workers and 3D printing making factory workers obsolete there aren't going to be many people left in the economy with the money to buy such products. The ruthless pursuit of capitalism will be the cause of its demise.



#14 Klownicle

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:49

Anyone remember the old automat's?

 

They didn't last long before, and they won't last now now, either.  People want their food made by people, not a machine.

 

I don't know you about you, but my Microwave does a great job of heating up food.  I suppose I could go back to over the fire.  Seriously, in the end, if your getting a burger made by a machine then you don't care about the quality of said burger.  That's what these machines will be poised to replace.



#15 Reverend Spam

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 11:52

With driverless cars replacing taxis, robots replacing fast food workers and 3D printing making factory workers obsolete there aren't going to be many people left in the economy with the money to buy such products. The ruthless pursuit of capitalism will be the cause of its demise.

 

This.  They're all great ideas, but at some point, humans will automate themselves out of a job.  And that will shake the foundations of businesses worldwide...  Even the CEOs will be bankrupt if no one has money to buy their robotically made hamburgers because the jobs they would have held to make money were outsourced to droids.

 

This has to end, and for the CEOs it's bound to end badly.