It sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but robots are well on their way to taking over the restaurant industry.
Dominos has already debuted it's Delivery Robot Unit (DRU) in Australia, which uses the same technology as self-driven cars, has GPS tracking and Google Maps (how fancy!) to find and deliver your pizza.
It also looks like the bastard love child of Wall-E and Big Hero 6.
Dominos expects DRU to be the norm in just a couple of years.
Then there's Eatsa, a chain restaurant in the US where diners never interact with humans to get their meal. Eatsa has no serving staff. Orders are made via tablets and, when made, the food is delivered into small compartments with the customer's name on it.
It also looks like eating at an Apple store.
No servers has meant a better bottom line for Eatsa, which passes the savings onto their diners. Average meal is just $6.95. Being fully-automated also lets corporate analyze their customers' behavior and, in turn, provide personalized greetings and menus based on taste.
Big Brother never tasted so delicious.
Robots proving they can cut it in the industry
Server jobs aren't the only one threatened by the robotic takeover. Engineers and scientists have already invented burger-making robots, and China has created a noodle slicing robot that looks like a Power Rangers villain.
Seriously, robotics. If you're going to create a knife-wielding robot, do you really need to make him look blood thirsty and murderous?
Then there's Moley, which was designed using motion capture of actual chefs cooking more than 2,000 different dishes. It's expected to cost $10,000 when released, but that's still cheaper than hiring someone at $7.25/hr full-time, not including benefits.
As bad as this could mean for restaurant employees, I suppose it's still better than other robo-centric futures... though if the multiverse theory is correct there's one universe where we get this beautiful mashup.
Robots 'never take a vacation'
Some restaurant owners are foaming at the mouth in excitement over all these new developments.
Take Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. He's looking forward to the day when robots take over the restaurant industry. Mostly it's so he won't have to pay higher wages, but he sees other benefits to having roboployees.
And, as Catch News points out, robots don't take bathroom breaks, get physically or mentally tired, or have interpersonal or motivational issues. They may try to murder you, however, and are prone to breaking down for no reason. But those are just trifles, really.
You also lose that human touch and interaction you get with a flesh and blood staff. What does one do if their meal is poorly cooked? Yell at the kiosk?
This, of course, unless Puzder is picturing some Ex Machina level robots, but I'd prefer not to be stabbed by a robot. That's just me.
Robo-restaurants also would bring a steady end to the tipping culture that's already being challenged by some restaurants.
Right now robotics in the restaurant industry is a novelty. We've already seen groceries fail at implementing self-checkout lines that work, so there's still a chance places like Easta will also fail.
If not, we might see a day in which having living, breathing servers and chefs make you a meal is a considered a novelty. That'd be some crazy, Star Trek-level stuff.
What are your thoughts about the inevitable robotic restaurant takeover? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.