Want to know why automation is replacing menial jobs?
Labour want to know…as they have their Ten Big bumper sticker slogans and attempt to find out why it is that automation is going to replace every job.
They should read the Wall Street Journal article about restaurant automation and wonder no more about why it is people are being replaced.
Consumer preferences, reduced technology costs and government policies that increase labor costs are driving a trend toward automation in the restaurant business. If you make something more convenient and less expensive, it tends to catch on.
As recently as the 1960s, gas-station employees would rush to fill your car’s tank, wash the windows, check the oil and put air in the tires. Telephone operators made your long-distance calls and bank tellers cashed your checks. Those jobs now are either gone or greatly diminished.
Today, we reduce jobs whenever we shop on Amazon instead of our local retail outlet, use an Uber app rather than calling a cab dispatcher, order a pizza online, use an airport kiosk to print boarding passes, or scan groceries. Each of these changes in behavior has increased convenience and reduced labor costs—and competitive businesses pass the savings to their customers.
In the restaurant business, the increasing impact of technology doesn’t mean that a robot will soon roll up to your table and say, “Hi, I’m Trudi4783. I’ll be your automated server today.” But technology can replace certain functions. Touch screens are already transforming the way food is ordered in many restaurants.
In late 2013, Chili’s and Applebee’s announced that they were installing more than 100,000 tableside tablets at their restaurants across the country, allowing customers to order and pay their bill without ever talking to a waiter. The companies were soon followed by Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera Bread, Olive Garden and dozens of others. This means fewer servers covering more tables. Quick-service restaurant chains are also testing touch-screen ordering.