In theory, fighting to raise the minimum wage for fast food and retail workers might sound like a good idea.
Until advocates of raising the minimum wage realize workers are likely to be replaced by robots.
in one press release On Monday, Chipotle announced that it is “exploring advanced technologies to improve the experience of its employees and guests by streamlining operations and reducing friction.”
At locations in Southern California, the restaurant chain is testing “a cook-to-needs kitchen management system that provides on-demand cooking and ingredient preparation forecasts to optimize throughput and freshness while minimizing food waste.”
“By leveraging AI and machine learning, the system monitors ingredient levels in real-time and notifies crew of how much to prepare, cook and when to start cooking, while automatically populating real-time production schedules for each restaurant,” added it.
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Curt Garner, Chief Technology Officer, said: “The new kitchen management system has eased manual tasks for our crew and has given restaurant managers the tools they need to make informed decisions in the moment, ultimately empowering them to deliver exceptional culinary and outstanding food can focus guest experience.”
And in worse news for workers hoping to benefit from higher wages, the chain also revealed it is testing a robot to cook fries.
“CHIPPY, which blends culinary traditions with artificial intelligence to create tortilla chips, has been moved from the Chipotle Cultivate Center to the restaurant’s official installation,” the press release reads. “Chippy will begin preparing chips for guests next month at a location in Fountain Valley, California, while the brand uses its stage-gate process to listen, test and learn from crew and guest feedback before.” opting for a national implementation strategy.”
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The move takes place in Newsom signed a crazy law, AB 257, that gives a 10-member fast food council the power to regulate the minimum wage for fast food restaurants, as well as anti-discrimination and workplace safety regulations.
All pay increases will be capped at $22 per hour for the first year. However, the cost of living may increase in the coming years. And the Wall Street Journal points out tEven if the panel is not renewed, “inflation-adjusted wage increases for workers would continue.”
Chipotle says Chippy has been in the works since earlier this year. Therefore, its introduction is most likely not a direct response to the legislation.
But it’s just another step toward automation, and labor advocates should question whether pushing for higher wages is actually benefiting workers.
This push to automate jobs in fast-food restaurants is something we should expect more of as labor costs continue to rise at the behest of labor advocates. According to one estimate, labor costs in California could increase by 60% as a result of the new legislation.
We’ve already seen kiosks where people can order their meals, which are popping up at fast food restaurants and substitute Several employees. And now many restaurants are introducing mobile ordering capabilities so people can order food and have it ready when they get to the restaurant.
With advances in artificial intelligence and now that we have it dancing robotsit seems we can’t be too far away from having robots that can fold burritos or flip burgers and continue to replace human workers.
But can companies be blamed for further automating their businesses? Why bother with people who get sick and need breaks and demand raises when robots don’t need time off? They also don’t have to worry about throwing a fit and leaving in the middle of a shift or asking for a raise.
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https://ijr.com/chipotle-tests-robot-chip-maker-ca-passes-fast-food-bill/ Who could have seen this coming? Chipotle tests robotic chipmaker as CA passes fast-food law