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Minimum Wage No More?

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Burger Robot to Replace Fast Food Workers With a Wage of $3 an Hour

The new robot can flip 150 burgers an hour for $3 and it never goes home.

If your job is working at a restaurant flipping burgers you may soon find yourself replaced by a robot that works for only $3 an hour.

The new robot named Flippy developed by Miso Robotics costs less to employ than a minimum-wage worker. Currently, Miso Robotics charges an up-front fee of between $20,000 and $30,000 to install Flippy into restaurants.

The LA Times reports:

As a result, Miso can offer Flippys to fast-food restaurant owners for an estimated $2,000 per month on a subscription basis, breaking down to about $3 per hour. (The actual cost will depend on customers’ specific needs). A human doing the same job costs $4,000 to $10,000 or more a month, depending on a restaurant’s hours and the local minimum wage. And robots never call in sick.

According to Digital Trends, Flippy is a “burger-flipping robot arm that’s equipped with both thermal and regular vision, which grills burgers to order while also advising human collaborators in the kitchen when they need to add cheese or prep buns for serving.”

When Miso Robotics set out to create their first units, off-the-shelf robotic arms sold for upwards of $100,000. Today, they’re going for about $10,000 and are only getting cheaper, according to the LA Times.

Flippy isn’t the first robot to take over the kitchen and it won’t be the last. It turns out Taco Bell was the first to use a robot in the kitchen with their “Automatic Taco Machine”—a long-forgotten relic from almost 30 years ago, because it failed due to too many problems. However, Taco Bell has given up on automation and is looking elsewhere in the form of self-ordering kiosks, which it had planned to install at all its 6,000+ locations across the United States by the end of 2019, according to Business Insider.

Last year international fast-food chain McDonald’s reported they would begin employing automated fryer robots throughout their different branches across the world. Former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi told Fox Business, “It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.” McDonald’s has also introduced touchscreen ordering kiosks to some of its stores.

Restaurant chains that are using automation include McDonalds, KFC, Panera, Wendys, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Arbys according to Business Insider.

Meanwhile, in China e-commerce giant Alibaba has a chain of automated grocery stores with attached diners staffed by robot waiters that take your order. Real estate giant Country Garden Holdings recently opened its first fully robotic restaurant in Guangzhou, China where computers and robots handle ordering, food prep, serving, and even the cleaning of tables.

Robots aren’t just taking over restaurants, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute indicates there are 800 million careers (or 30 percent of the global job force)—from doctors to accountants, lawyers to journalists—that will be lost to automation by 2030. The report concludes that hundreds of millions of people worldwide will have to find new jobs or learn new skills.

A report by the University of Oxford suggests we will soon face a robot job apocalypse predicting that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots and Artificial Intelligence over the next fifteen to twenty years.

15 COMMENTS

    • The term ‘productivity’ means the amount of value added per unit of input. The NZ economy is characterised by some well performing industries and businesses with good productivity and value added, while a much larger part of the economy, including some major sectors employing the majority of the labour force achieve low productivity and value added. The solution is to incentivise all businesses to improve their performance and where they will not, or cannot, then let the resources they employ move elsewhere in the economy, either within the same sector or to another better performing sector.

      https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/103884/kevin-sampson-wants-see-more-pressure-applied-all-businesses-all-levels-actually-work

      The 1960s were a remarkable time in terms of the world’s growing labour force. Women began entering the workforce in increasingly large numbers and the baby boomer generation – the largest living adult generation – came of age.

      Many, particularly Western economies prospered, and the world economy expanded six fold in the following decades due to this combined demographic windfall.

      In the near term, it could also be good for workers, as a shrinking labour market creates opportunities for those who are left. However, while it will be a prosperous period for highly skilled employees, those with low- or mid-level skills may not be so lucky. These cohorts are likely to face the most disruption from the new technologies that are set to change the nature of work.

      On the other hand, it is clear that automation won’t be rolled out uniformly across all industries at the same time. Bain and Company predict some sectors will continue to use lower-cost labour for some time rather than invest in automation.

      https://www.interest.co.nz/business/103934/masseys-alison-brook-shows-even-fast-improving-productivity-unlikely-may-be-wont-be

      Both worth a read.

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  1. Lets break this down.
    I used to work in a Mcdonalds.(I onced served the Viennese Boys Choir)Anyway…
    Receive breadbuns from a truck.
    Stage breadbuns in preparation area
    Remove from packaging
    Separate buns(up to 12)
    Place each half in separate areas of toaster.
    Remove from toaster(they go in and come out upside down)
    Add condiments to upper half,mustard,ketchup,rehydrated dehydrated onions and a slice of pickle)
    Add grilled beef patty
    Add other half of bun
    Send to heated collection area to be wrapped and served.
    That’s just the bread buns life cycle in a Mc’Ds kitchen.
    I haven’t described what happens to the meat patty.
    This ‘robot’ flips a burger on a grill which is a very small part of the big picture that is junk food.

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