Minimum wage labour that doesn’t strike or turn up late to work


It is a development that will make the average union leader despair. It is what some employers would consider to be the perfect worker. This worker doesn’t need holiday pay or holidays and can make a superior product. This worker doesn’t have to be trained in health and safety or provided with a uniform. This worker can work seven days a week and never gets tired. This worker is a legal slave and one that many employers will be clamouring to own.

First there were automated order kiosks, now there’s talk about a robot-powered burger making machine.

With organized labor’s push for a $15 minimum wage, unions are pushing minimum wage labor out of the budget range of restaurants and many of the industry’s unskilled jobs may soon be hard to find.

In what could be a prototype of future fast food restaurants, a burger joint in San Francisco appears to be in the works that will feature a machine that can produce 400 made-to-order hamburgers an hour — the process is fully autonomous, meaning it can slice toppings, grill a patty, and assemble and bag the burger without any help from humans, Tech Insider reported.

Here’s a look at the robo-burger:


Photo Source

The machine first debuted in 2012 by Momentum Machines, but little happened until January of this year, when the company applied for a building permit to convert a retail space into a restaurant, according to

“Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient,” the company’s co-founder, Alexandros Vardakostas, told the tech news site Xconomy. “It’s meant to completely obviate them.”

A job posting last month on Craigslist offered a little insight into what lies ahead, Tech Insider noted.

“This location will feature the world-premiere of our proprietary and remarkable new advances in technology that enable the automatic creation of impossibly delicious burgers at prices everyone can afford,” the ad explains.

Momentum Machines is hiring for the role of “restaurant generalist,” as there are still some things a machine can’t do.

“[You will] learn to do everything that’s part of running a restaurant in San Francisco,” the ad says, but points out that this may include the “dirty work of restocking, hauling trash, and tidying up.”

But applicants may learn new skills like software troubleshooting, market research, and product development research.

Here’s a diagram of the Momentum Machines burger making machine:



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  • Cadwallader

    In a similar vein I heard at lunchtime that Little Angry is “outraged!” Why? JK sensibly suggested that either Customs officers or Police fill-in for Airport Security staff while they strike during the imminent school holidays. Little Angry insists that workers do not go on strike lightly and their action has been after many years without “recognition” Pull the other one! Little will love this strike action as it is about all he understands.

    • Mick Ie

      We will need them to fill in to cover security. Or is AL hoping something negative will happen during the strike so he can accuse the government of causing that too? I wonder who will he have lined up ready and waiting (coincidentally) to report it?

  • XCIA

    Will the manufacturers covenant to provide 24/7 services within a set time to repair the thing when some 50 cent part stops your whole enterprise, or will the existing staff retrain to look after the “machine”?

  • rollingblock

    Customs and security staff are ripe for the picking for robotic solutions. Machines that can sniff drugs and vegetable matter, xray machines and retinal scanners that can match pre-cleared travelers ID’s and computers that can micro analyze facial expressions and predict trouble. Go ahead Unions, make the case stronger for full replacement just like the fast food industry.

    • shykiwibloke

      I’d suggest it would be easier to replace the 6000 or so planners in the Auckland council with such robots – all they have to do is say no, employ a multitude of delay tactics before sending an invoice.

      • Dave

        i would suggest only one robot for every 1000 Auckland council workers would be needed, no coffee machines, no water coolers, and just work. A few hours a month (rotated) so they can receive the latest software, and important updates. Sounds pretty attractive really.

        • shykiwibloke

          Yes you are right – not one for one is it – no HR staff, no Accounts staff for expenses and PAYE, no union officials, much reduced IT staff load (no desk top computers and no silly help desk questions.
          Perhaps the council could dispense with all, including the robots – and let us do as we please with our own land! What a radical idea.

          • taurangaruru

            Don’t 100% agree, there would be an increased need for IT folk either keeping the things running (mechanical devices do break) developing new code etc etc. What you won’t have is uneducated numpties in positions of power where they can make or destroy your day aka service desks the world over!

          • shykiwibloke

            Logic is that the IT folk needed to run a handful of robots would be less than the number enquired to service desktops for 6000 people.

        • MaryLou

          And no hair strighteners!

        • Paul Marsden

          Council workers?? Now there’s an oxymoron.

    • taurangaruru

      Travelled through Perth International airport recently i estimate 60% of immigration staff are either gone or deployed elsewhere, replaced by Smartgates

  • At least the burgers will be cheap. So those newly unemployed ex burger makers can at least buy one from their new robot overlords. And thank their union for making it all possible

  • oldmanNZ

    One xay, unions will find a way to give machines special rights to have a rest and rights to strike. Machines are becoming more intelligent, in some case more smarter than the worker it replaces.

    I have seen vending machine that prepare food, so it has started years ago, just need refining.

  • Wheninrome

    So how will the non workers with time on their hands fill it. They hate doing anything for nothing so they won’t be volunteering for a charity near you any time soon.
    Idle hands become mischievous. Look for more trouble on the way., We might need a police state just to control the “non workers”. People just don’t know when they are well off.

  • Gaynor

    I wonder if I could buy 6 robots and send them all out to work. I would be collecting 6 wages and they could all work 24 hours a day.

    • This is called equipment leasing. So, if you have the cash, it could be a great investment.

  • Bob Dazzler

    The ones most easily replaced are those who through stupidly or laziness could not be bothered learning how to learn and had the misfortune to be born into large families (two or more) with stupid or lazy parent/s.

  • sandalwood789

    Wharfies are next – there is already an almost-completely-automated port in Australia.

  • Rick H

    Going on strike, what?
    Is this Andy’s “Future of Work”?

    Back to the future it is.