Robot Pizzas and the Future of Fast Food

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Inside a gleaming metal structure the size of a shipping container, robotic arms pull out a disk of dough. They carefully apply tomato sauce, then the cheese.

Pepperoni, anyone?

This store was created by Hyper Robotics, an intriguing startup from Israel that makes automated pizzerias. Its technology is in use today at a Pizza Hut in Israel.

The robot can even cook the pizza, cut it, and put it in a box! But for now, there’s still one employee there to hand the box to the customer.

Hyper Robotics isn’t the first company to attempt robotic pizza. California-based Zume made pizzas autonomously and even baked the pizza en route to you.

But Zume burned cash at a rate of over $10 million a day. Despite a $375 million investment from Softbank in 2018 the company exited the pizza business in early 2020.

The most interesting implications of robotic restaurants may be for the labor force. Over 5 million people work in fast food restaurants in America today.

In a weaker labor market, robotic restaurants could pose a real threat to the livings of working class people. But in today’s world of rock bottom unemployment, the robots may simply be taking a job no one wants.

Many restaurants are cutting hours or reducing service due to a lack of employees. Perhaps if people want to eat pizza but no one wants to make it, robots can help.

Since the pandemic, many former fast food workers have found higher paying jobs at e-commerce fulfillment centers, shipping companies, and the like. For a group of workers that so often struggled, I count this move up the value chain as something to celebrate.

Would you try a robot pizza? And what impact do you think robotics will have on restaurants and the labor market?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

Judging a Startup Pitch Competition

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

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