Robotic hamburgers

Wednesday, 11 February, 2015

McDonald’s posted a worse-than-projected drop in global sales for January, reports Bloomberg. The fast food chain has just replaced its CEO in an attempt to grow sales, but what if that fails? Perhaps it will consider replacing workers with robots.

“Excited about disrupting a $60 billion a year industry with robotic automation,” says Avidan Ross, founder of Lion Wells Capital and an advisor to Momentum Machines, a Bay Area start-up that designs and develops hamburger-making robots for restaurants, shops and food trucks. On its website, the company is somewhat coy about its disruptive potential: “Founded in 2010, we are a stereotypical group of San Francisco foodies and engineers with decades of robotics experience… Our various technologies can produce an ever-growing list of common choices like salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and many other multi-ingredient foods with a gourmet focus.”

In fact, its robots can grill a piece of beef; layer it with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions; place it in a bun and and wrap it up to go. Momentum Machines says its robot “does everything employees can do, except better.” Might that be the solution to the headache that Steve Easterbrook has inherited? It could be, but if those entry-level jobs flipping burgers are taken by robots, we’ll have a bigger problem on our hands.


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