Why Restaurants Are Replacing People With Robots

By Tiffany Velasquez | Published

restaurant chains robots

Restaurant chains are experimenting more and more with robots to handle tasks. From self-driving cars delivering pizza to robots chopping and prepping vegetables to robots cleaning floors, you may just have your next meal from your favorite restaurant prepared by an automatically operated machine that has replaced human functions. What a time to be alive.

Many popular restaurant chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill, White Castle, McDonald’s, Wing Zone, and others are testing the waters and using robots to prepare and perform restaurant duties. This experiment with robots and other labor-saving technology comes amid a labor crunch and pressure for profits. The industry has been in a scramble to find a viable solution to the labor shortage and demand for higher wages.

Many restaurant chains have long been struggling to keep workers satisfied. Food costs have drastically been on the rise; all the while, restaurant owners were increasing wages in an attempt to attract workers. This put a great deal of financial strain on most owners, and automation and robots quickly presented themselves as potential solution.

Robots have been seen as a way for restaurant chain owners to eliminate jobs, and there has been pushback. Despite pushback, owners have been claiming that this is a solution to eliminate tedious tasks and offer a great deal of help during the restaurant rush. Experimentation has been continuing, and you can expect to potentially see more and more of this automated service and preparation in restaurants.

One major restaurant chain, McDonald’s, has opened an experimental store in Ft. Worth, Texas. The experimental test location utilizes many automated services, such as a conveyor belt to deliver food and an app or kiosk to order the food. The store has been met with mixed feelings and led one customer to point out that they didn’t want to give their money to robots.

Many of the robots that are not presenting themselves in many restaurant chains come from a company called Miso Robotics. One of the most famous robots to come from Miso Robotics is named Flippy. Flippy is available to rent for a total of $3,000 a month and has the ability to flip hamburgers or make chicken wings.

White Castle is not the only restaurant chain to essentially employ a Flippy-like automated technology. Currently, Flippy, the burger-flipping robot, is being rented in four White Castle restaurant locations. The company has made a commitment to utilizing this type of technology to upgrade and overhaul several locations.

Chipotle is using a robot that it calls Chippy to make fresh tortilla chips. Additionally, Buffalo Wild Wings, another major restaurant chain, is using Flippy to make chicken wings. They have actually been using this automated technology for over a year.

In addition to the Miso Robotics company, another company called Picnic Works is also working on robot-like equipment. Picnic Works focuses on equipment for pizza making. One giant restaurant chain in Berlin has rented out Picnic Work equipment for over $3,000 a month to make adding sauce, cheese, and other pizza toppings easier.

Enjoy your meals cooked and prepared with love while you can. This technology of utilizing robots is still in the test phase in most restaurant chains. Whether or not this is a fully viable solution to the restaurant industry’s challenges is still unclear.