Bold Business Logo
Close this search box.

Fast Food Robots: Robots and Apps to Upsell Fries

Family ordering food at a robot run fast food joint.

A new self-service kiosk added to McDonald’s restaurants across the United States is set to cut more than 2,000 jobs over the next few years. Experts say the age-old debate of whether computers can take the place of humans is becoming more of a reality each day. These bold actions, are going to have a big impact on society. They promise faster, better service, but also dislocation and challenges.

Author of “Rise of the Robots,” says more fast food restaurants will adopt the technology in the very near future — leading to fewer jobs.

According to CBS News, the new computers will be used by 2,500 McDonald’s restaurants by the end of 2017, and more than 14,000 by 2020.

The fast food giant has said that the new computer-generated ordering systems are part of its goal for the future, and skipping the traditional cashier is part of a better and faster experience.

The new system will allow the customer to order food through the firm’s app, then pick it up at the drive-through, or even get table service in-store.

CBS News spoke with McDonald’s customer Jonathan Alvarez. He only has 30 minutes break at lunchtime, so self-order kiosks near his work have become a valuable time saver. “It’s superbly faster, it’s almost 50 percent as fast,” he said.

It’s not just McDonald’s who are using the service in their restaurants. More and more fast food joints up and down the country are adopting self service lanes, kiosks, and pre-order apps. Chilis, Panera and Applebee’s have recently introduced electronic ordering and payment systems to speed up their operating process.

Flippy, the Robot Burger Chef

What’s more, a new burger flipping robot called “Flippy” has been produced which could see yet more humans lose their jobs. The machine is already being used by Caliburger and uses artificial intelligence to identify ingredients and cook foods properly.

ordering food and smart phone

Bold Business recently revealed how artificial intelligence is changing everything from the healthcare industry to education. Robots are creating a stir and not always for the right reasons. They are already starting to dominate our world, propelling us forward at a rapid rate. Now they are taking over the food industry.

Robots are invading restaurants around the world, not just fast food but also pizzerias. Zume recently developed a new robot to make the perfect pizza. Up until now, the complications of working with ingredients that vary in shape and size have troubled robots. Now Zume has created a robot that spreads and flattens the dough, as well as tops it and bakes the pizza to perfection.

We also revealed how Momentum Machines, a company that developed the first robot grill master, plans on opening its first fast food restaurant after securing $18 million in funding. Momentum Machines made its name in 2012 after launching the Autonomous Grill Master, a robot that slices, grills, assembles, and bags burgers in just an hour. The firm is made up of roboticists from Tesla, NASA, Stanford, and Berkeley, and has been the guiding light for the use of machines in the food industry.

Martin Ford, author of “Rise of the Robots,” says more fast food restaurants will adopt the technology in the very near future — leading to fewer jobs.

“For me it’s easy to imagine a fast-food store employing maybe 30 percent fewer employees, or maybe even half as many employees,” Ford told CBS News.

Don't miss out!

The Bold Wire delivers our latest global news, exclusive top stories, career
opportunities and more.

Thank you for subscribing!