McDonald's New High-Tech Burger Flipper

from the who-needs-humans? dept

While everyone here seems to be complaining about offshore outsourcing of jobs, maybe they should start worrying whether or not we'll need any human employees whatsoever in the future. I was recently reading a story on Dave Farber's Interesting People list about someone going into a McDonald's and testing out their new "order kiosk", where the customer could order food from the playground section. The writer wondered how long it would be until there were simply those same kiosks at every table, and no humans needed to take orders. Already, for years, there have been fast food restaurants where the order taking system is "turned around". The first time I used one of these, it was a little creepy. You walk up to the counter and punch in your own order. The people who used to take your order are just standing there like zombies waiting to take your money. However, with the addition of kiosks that accept payments, you don't need those people any more either. Now, McDonald's is going one step further and getting rid of the need for humans cooking the food as well. That's right, they're testing out automated burger grabbers and flippers. Already McDonald's is famous for how automated their process is (just go in sometime and listen carefully for all the different beeping noises in the kitchen - everything is timed and measured precisely). Taking the human element out of it completely must be their dream scenario. So, how long until we get the fully automated McDonald's? You sit down at your table, punch in your order (how about voice recognition to make it easier?), swipe your credit card, and a minute later your Big Mac, fries, and a drink slide out a little trap door onto your table. They can even buy one of those roomba devices to clean up.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    cw, Aug 1st, 2003 @ 2:47pm

    No Subject Given

    In such a situation, you would probably need one or two more highly-skilled employees present to correct machine errors or to fix them if they malfunction. And there would still be cleaning duties, at least until nanobots could be summoned to do that :)

     

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      frankiejr, Aug 2nd, 2003 @ 4:02am

      Re: No Subject Given

      what if it runs Windoze? McD's will end up having to hire more people than it had in the first place.

      all i want is that cool pizza hut oven in Back to the Future II. then i'd be the coolest McFly on the block!

       

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      Inventor, Oct 21st, 2003 @ 3:57am

      Re: No Subject Given

      That is totally wrong. Don't give your opinion unless you know what you are talking about!

       

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    saleh, Aug 1st, 2003 @ 7:06pm

    The US is just catching up

    In Tokyo, some restaurants have a vending machine outside the restaurant. You choose what you want to eat and drink, pay, and it issues tickets -- you take those tickets inside, and the cooks prepare your food. It completely eliminates the need for cashiers. It sounds like McDonalds' system is just a slightly different version.

     

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    JD, Aug 2nd, 2003 @ 6:12am

    But.....

    They'll never replace that guy wearing a uniform that hasn't been washed in a week, with the pants dragging below his crack, who's just waiting for you to sit down with your food so he can come over and mop/sweep all around you.

    Loud bodily function noises are an exceptional treat for those who have never experienced this.

     

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    blah, Aug 3rd, 2003 @ 4:53pm

    Flipping?

    There is no flipping involved in cooking meat at mcdonalds. There is a clamshell that you pull down so that both sides cook at once!

     

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    Just somebody, Aug 4th, 2003 @ 1:37pm

    I wonder ...

    Having read that article from Dave Farber's list, I really wonder if such a future will materialise. There is still a need of a technician to maintain these automated machines ( not to mention manifacturing them ... to some degree ).
    However with the slow demise of the agriculture industry via mega crops and such, many people entered into the manifacturing industry. As that shifted to more and more automated structure, people then moved on into the service industry.
    McDonalds is not really known as much as a service industry then a food distribution spot. I forsee a major shift towards a more indepth service industry. McDonalds never managed to kill off mom & pop restaurants and such. People are willing to pay for a personalized touch of a greasy spoon then the humdrum of a McDees.

     

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    Mitch, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 5:48am

    Flipping

    No flipping in queensland australia you pull the 'thing' down occasionally the grill will not cook accurately and the human touch is needed

     

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    Freda Mallory, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    MCDONALD GOING HIGH TECH

    No, human at Mcdonald, not. How can this be? Mcdonald, the home of the two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, pickles, cheese, all on a sesame bun. Maybe in about 2020, we could see that, but now, nooooooooooooooooo way.

     

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    goo, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    nothing

    really

     

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    goo, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    nothing

    really

     

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    Darth Krisis, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:11pm

    Automated MickyDeez

    Man McDonalds is MC Plop, it is the most nasty smelly crap on earth...me and my friends bought three Bi Macs once (One for each of us) and punted them right in fron the store...and we are all software developers who make good money doing stupid crap like that..but the Big Mac had to get punted..smelly people puttin their stinly hands on your stink Big McPlop..hell no..

    But dudes...if robots made my Big Mac I eat there everyday Bros!

     

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    chris from australia, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 8:34pm

    man i love working at maccas! maybe because we have higher standards, but whichever. i get half price food (if i even bother to put it through in register in the first place), i stolen gawd knows how much crap from there, the people are fun to be with, most managers are alright, and when you have ~gun~ crew working (like me), then its a pleasure working.

     

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    ex-crew, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 5:40pm

    Almost there anyway

    While I was working at McDonald's I realized how amazing it was that they haven't switched. Working on Grill station, all I had to do was place the patties and push a button to initiate the cooking process; frying is also done by a push of a button. Assembling the burgers is so a strict process, a computer can easily manage it. The only true contact the machines need is cleaning and maintenance.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2010 @ 8:32pm

    can you think about that???????????? disgusting

     

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    Bob, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 12:08am

    When?

    this blog started in Aug 2003. That has been 6 + years! What's the hold up? I could have automated Mac, Wendy, and BK by now. But look, when you put the people out of work, you have to give them a piece of what's left-some stock or put stock in a trust and let them get dividents. It doesn't have to be a whole paycheck, they will get other jobs but for less money. just try to make up the difference. and you want to have customers, don't you?

     

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