Will Robots Replace Fast-Food Workers?

Author: The Motley Fool

Tim Carone 150x150

EXCERPT from the Motley Fool:

Timothy Carone a teaching professor in the Department of IT, Analytics, and Operations at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, believes that automation will happen in restaurants, but not quickly or necessarily to the detriment of flesh-and-blood workers. The professor, who wrote the forthcoming book Future Automation -- Changes to Lives and to Businesses, does believe that the path toward robot workers (or at least automated workflow) will be a slow one.

"Automated services in restaurants has started and will continue for many years even while many restaurants maintain their level of manual service," he wrote in an email to The Motley Fool. "Some fast food companies will be all-in and others are taking a wait-and-see attitude. It will take years for fast food franchises to recognize a return on their automation investment though at some point an automated operation will be much cheaper than a manual operation."

Carone said that the idea that restaurants are automating due to labor costs is only partially true.

"Automation would occur at much lower labor costs than exist today or in the future but automation costs money," he said, noting that the expense will lower over time. "Whether a restaurant becomes partially or fully automated should depend on its customers and locations. Fast-food franchises located anywhere are finding its customers value automation. Restaurants at airports or similar locations that provide a captive audience but no loyalty except for brand loyalty will find automation necessary and valued by customers -- faster is better."

Read the entire story on the Motley Fool website.