Robots are invading the restaurant industry

Robots are beginning to be used in the restaurant industry to perform a wide range of easily automated tasks, from preparing salads to whole meals. In this segment of Backstage Pass, registered on 22 october, Fool contributors Jason Hall, Toby Bordelon, and Rachel Warren recall past jobs they wished they could have been relegated to a robot.

Jason hall: Speaking of being nice to retail people. There’s another one, Toby shared an article, on robots. The robots are coming to take our jobs. Burger bots in this case, deep fryer drones. But actually guys, I don’t think they’re coming to take anyone’s job, because nobody wants those jobs anymore, it seems. I remember people saying that rising labor costs were going to kill jobs in the restaurant industry.

This was going to be the thing that would automate it. But now it’s just plain obvious that it’s all about efficiency and productivity, and that’s apparently leading to the evolution of robots in the restaurant industry, apparently. I remember working in Mcdonald’s‘s (NYSE: MCD) when I was in high school, and the worst job was toasting buns. Toast the buns. It was back-

Toby Bordelon: Have we lost Jason.

Rachel Warren: I think we can have. I didn’t know if it was my internet.

Toby Bordelon: Jason told us a great story about toasting buns at McDonald’s. Hope he comes back. We’re back to-

Rachel Warren: I know I’m on pins and needles here. I wanted to hear- [laughs]

Toby Bordelon: Yes I wanted to hear this story, hope in a minute or two we can get it back before signing. Rachel, did you have a bad job?

Rachel Warren: The work itself was not bad. The job I was thinking about was when I worked for six months in a bank, and the job itself was good. But that was many years ago, but it was like a really bad neighborhood and my coworkers were extremely picky, and I just don’t know, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

I look back on it now and learned a lot from it, but it wasn’t the most enjoyable six months of my professional life. [laughs]

Jason Hall: The funny thing about this job, Rachel, is that it wasn’t replaced by robots. These are the applications that [laughs] replaced it. This is what happened there. Yeah, the thing about we just wanna say real quick, the thing I hated about the job of toasting buns was that it was so monotonous. It was like working in a factory, it was just brutally painful. Toby, do you have one to share with us real quick before we give it to you? Or a recording of you anyway.

Toby Bordelon: Yeah, I’ll just share. It’s hard for me to point out a job that I really hated because I didn’t really have a lot of bad jobs, really. But there were aspects of my work as a lawyer that I looked down on.

Many of these may now be automated by DocuSign, which is quite interesting. Maybe life is getting a little better for junior associates. Before I go, I just want to share this really quick with our viewers.

This is the article that started it. You see this pic of this guy in a White Castle shirt. Seems so likely da Vinci Robot, folks. [laughs] Jason. [laughs] I think absolutely we can modify the da Vinci robot and maybe we can do those burgers and toast flipping jobs you didn’t like like a job from home.

You can be in your house using your modified da Vinci to run the burger production line at McDonald’s. It would be really interesting.

Jason Hall: I found our name. We’ll call it Intuitive Burgical.

Toby Bordelon: It’s awesome.

Jason Hall: Law. We’re going to continue with this, and I hope no one is chasing us, but we’ll take it.

Rachel Warren: [laughs] Small detail.

Jason Hall: Rachel, it’s always a pleasure to be with you. Thanks for being a night owl because it’s great that we can have you for this hour.

Rachel Warren: Oh thank you. Very funny.

Jason Hall: Toby, mate, good Friday, mate.

Toby Bordelon: Good Friday to you Jason. Always nice to be here on a Friday afternoon. I love ending my week like this.

Jason Hall: Yes. It’s definitely a great way to end the week. Of course, like I said, we’ll get it to you, Toby. We’re going to hand you back, Brian and Brian, that recording from the start of the week, you took a deep dive Procore. Before handing it over, I would be remiss if I did not thank Tim Sparks, [inaudible], our people behind the glass do the production work. We really appreciate you guys.

We love all of our viewers, all of you members. We literally can do it – literally and figuratively – we can’t do it without you because you are paying for it and watching it, so thanks for that, we love you guys. Alright everyone have a nice and crazy weekend.

This article represents the opinion of the author, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a premium Motley Fool consulting service. We are motley! Challenging an investment thesis – even one of our own – helps us all to think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.


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Cecil N. Messick