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(Mother Jones)   McDonald's soon to install ordering kiosks and cooking robots at all its locations in California   (motherjones.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Socialism, Trade union, The Bill, American Federation of Labor, Collective bargaining, Labor, fast-food workers, labor law reform  
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968 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Aug 2022 at 3:50 AM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-08-19 4:19:59 AM  
When Tel Aviv's main mall reopened after closing in the pandemic, the McDonald's had installed all these self-serving kiosks. Type your order and then swipe a card or a smartphone with a payment app. Pick up the bag with your number when they place it on the counter.

It's very convenient, but I'm sure that the franchise employs far fewer teenagers now.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-08-19 4:43:34 AM  
With something like 1 in 10 of their customers being former employees, it seems like they should a put a mode on the thing like the normal cash register interface.  It is far faster for people who know how to use it and it works much better for non-standard orders.
 
2022-08-19 5:00:18 AM  
if you think so little of yourself to eat MacDonald you deserve self check-out.
 
2022-08-19 5:24:03 AM  
They can't keep their ice cream machines running but they want to automate their cooking process? This should be fun to watch.
 
2022-08-19 5:35:24 AM  
Wait wait wait, the poor woman commutes to work for a scheduled shift but then is sent home w/o pay because there's "not enough work to do"?

I'm not intimately familiar with Carl's Jr's employment agreement, but I'm pretty sure that's illegal in California.

yep, here it is: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_ReportingTimePay.htm
 
2022-08-19 5:39:28 AM  
A mobile (not McD's) burger-bot would be the dream, right?
Almost as important as the mobile pie-bot.
Mmmm, mobile.
 
2022-08-19 5:40:21 AM  

DON.MAC: With something like 1 in 10 of their customers being former employees, it seems like they should a put a mode on the thing like the normal cash register interface.  It is far faster for people who know how to use it and it works much better for non-standard orders.


These are fine as long as there are plenty of them and you don't get stuck behind someone who is unfamiliar with them. Nothing like a family of four scrolling and deciding what to eat one by one.

// I sound fat
 
2022-08-19 5:45:35 AM  

bostonguy: When Tel Aviv's main mall reopened after closing in the pandemic, the McDonald's had installed all these self-serving kiosks. Type your order and then swipe a card or a smartphone with a payment app. Pick up the bag with your number when they place it on the counter.

It's very convenient, but I'm sure that the franchise employs far fewer teenagers now.

[Fark user image image 850x637]


Yes, I see your point

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-08-19 5:47:20 AM  
If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.
 
2022-08-19 5:54:47 AM  

Cajnik: DON.MAC: With something like 1 in 10 of their customers being former employees, it seems like they should a put a mode on the thing like the normal cash register interface.  It is far faster for people who know how to use it and it works much better for non-standard orders.

These are fine as long as there are plenty of them and you don't get stuck behind someone who is unfamiliar with them. Nothing like a family of four scrolling and deciding what to eat one by one.

// I sound fat


They have been using them in Australia for a number of years and they install enough that there typically isn't a line.
 
2022-08-19 6:06:57 AM  

DON.MAC: Cajnik: DON.MAC: With something like 1 in 10 of their customers being former employees, it seems like they should a put a mode on the thing like the normal cash register interface.  It is far faster for people who know how to use it and it works much better for non-standard orders.

These are fine as long as there are plenty of them and you don't get stuck behind someone who is unfamiliar with them. Nothing like a family of four scrolling and deciding what to eat one by one.

// I sound fat

They have been using them in Australia for a number of years and they install enough that there typically isn't a line.


This thread inspired me, at lunch in the mall at the moment and both BK and McD had lines for the kiosks. It was faster to go to the teenager
 
2022-08-19 6:41:33 AM  
The local McDonalds has two of these things, When I go inside, there's typically people standing around the things blocking access to them, while waiting for food, there's no defined lines to the kiosks.  Sometimes you get someone swearing at the thing.  Other people are standing at the registers to order, ignoring them. It's chaos inside.  The drive thru line is long.

I just use the bathroom, and get back on the highway.
 
2022-08-19 6:47:16 AM  

wax_on: If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.


Agreed.

And who said, "If your job can be replaced by a robot, it should be."?
 
2022-08-19 6:53:42 AM  

Cajnik: DON.MAC: With something like 1 in 10 of their customers being former employees, it seems like they should a put a mode on the thing like the normal cash register interface.  It is far faster for people who know how to use it and it works much better for non-standard orders.

These are fine as long as there are plenty of them and you don't get stuck behind someone who is unfamiliar with them. Nothing like a family of four scrolling and deciding what to eat one by one.

// I sound fat


This. I was at an airport a few months back that had two kiosks and only one of them was useful because some family was standing at the other one scrolling slowly through for more than 10 minutes as if they were perusing a regular restaurant menu. "Oooh, a quarter pounder; Jim, you haven't had one of those in a while, what do you think? Let's keep looking." Treat it the same as if there was a human being in front of you. Walk up, order, get out.

That said, everywhere I've gone in Europe recently these kiosks are at every fast food place. There's *maybe* one register, and it isn't actually staffed; if someone needs to order, someone comes from the back and takes the order then goes back. It's otherwise 100% kiosk and everyone seems to be fine.
 
2022-08-19 7:09:15 AM  
If raising minimum wage by $3 will result in a Big Mac costing $15 then reducing the number of employees should lower the cost of a Big Mac to about $2.
 
2022-08-19 7:16:31 AM  

Muta: If raising minimum wage by $3 will result in a Big Mac costing $15 then reducing the number of employees should lower the cost of a Big Mac to about $2.


That line about paying employees a living wage making the food double in price has always been hogwash. Employee payroll is one of many costs in a business budget. Rent, utilities, advertising, etc.
 
2022-08-19 7:21:14 AM  
Until I see a real-life demo, self-cooking "robots" is like self driving cars. Always coming out next year for 30 years.

You can make a self-making pizza machine. But that's all it does. Make pizzas. No robot involved. Just a PLC and actuators. Ladder logic and that's it.

You could make a decent hamburger machine. But good luck the second a McChicken or nuggets comes along. It will crash and you have to have a tech (because let's be real. A fast food chain would NEVER give an employee ABB training) unfark it. Lol.
 
2022-08-19 7:21:55 AM  

wax_on: If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.


Is this a surprise?  A few years ago I went to a McD out in western MA on business and it was the only place to get breakfast at 6AM.  I had not been in a McDs in over 20 years.  Two vertical rectangular touch screens to order.  Then there were two employees out back behind a wall with a pass through counter with an electric gate which opened only when employee #2 put bags out.  The other employee was taking orders at the drive through.
So in the past they might have needed four employees in the early morning, they only need two in the AM and 3-4 for the peak mid-day and evening rush.
 
2022-08-19 7:28:48 AM  
They'll still need someone to clean and maintain the robots as well as move food in and out of them.  I can't see how this would replace many workers since there already aren't a lot of people in a McDonald's kitchen. Plus now they'll need someone who knows how to fix it when it goes down and can program it when new products launch, and people who can do that aren't cheap.
 
2022-08-19 7:39:16 AM  

Xythero: They'll still need someone to clean and maintain the robots as well as move food in and out of them.  I can't see how this would replace many workers since there already aren't a lot of people in a McDonald's kitchen. Plus now they'll need someone who knows how to fix it when it goes down and can program it when new products launch, and people who can do that aren't cheap.


For the first part: there's a lot you can do with a pick and place machine and a conveyor. Cleaning could be partially automated, or down to one or two employees who also handle basic maintenance. Course, considering the franchise model McD's and just about everyone else uses, and that none of those changes are particularly cheap in the short term, I'm sure it'd be a good while before anyone achieved their dreams of owning an automat.
 
2022-08-19 7:39:50 AM  
Not sure whom to root for here.  On the one hand, I think we'd all agree that fast food workers should be paid a living wage and that they deserve good working conditions.  On the other hand, they earn their livings serving you that stuff that McDonald's puts out.
 
2022-08-19 7:42:27 AM  
media4.giphy.comView Full Size
 
2022-08-19 7:49:30 AM  
Someone should start a company that fixes cooking robots and hire teenagers to do it.
 
2022-08-19 7:53:21 AM  

grokca: Someone should start a company that fixes cooking robots and hire teenagers to do it.


I think that's how you wind up turning the robots into killbots.  Either the teenager will mess something up, or intentionally fark things up, because they're teenagers.
 
2022-08-19 7:54:08 AM  
Haven't been to a McDonald's in years
Do they still have a Mcrib?
 
2022-08-19 8:23:36 AM  

Cajnik: DON.MAC: Cajnik: DON.MAC: With something like 1 in 10 of their customers being former employees, it seems like they should a put a mode on the thing like the normal cash register interface.  It is far faster for people who know how to use it and it works much better for non-standard orders.

These are fine as long as there are plenty of them and you don't get stuck behind someone who is unfamiliar with them. Nothing like a family of four scrolling and deciding what to eat one by one.

// I sound fat

They have been using them in Australia for a number of years and they install enough that there typically isn't a line.

This thread inspired me, at lunch in the mall at the moment and both BK and McD had lines for the kiosks. It was faster to go to the teenager


The ones in London that have the kiosks generally have no one at the till to take the order. No option to go to the teenager when queues at the kiost 😡
 
2022-08-19 8:27:00 AM  

zippythechimp: Haven't been to a McDonald's in years
Do they still have a Mcrib?


You do realize the McRib is comprised of basically the leftovers from the kill floor.  I'm only partially kidding.
 
2022-08-19 8:31:24 AM  
I despise, and usually refuse to use, this forced technology.
 
2022-08-19 8:32:10 AM  
It's been years since I've been in a McDs, except to use the restroom.  Either my wife uses the app on her phone or we use the drive-through.  If I went into the place to order and all they had were the kiosks, I'd walk back out. Kiosks are filthy and in some cases more so than the restrooms.
 
2022-08-19 8:38:26 AM  
Ah, California - where fast food truly began its ascent and where it begins its decline
 
2022-08-19 8:45:38 AM  

bubbadave1056: I despise, and usually refuse to use, this forced technology.


You're not alone. I also refuse to use the self-check at CVS unless absolutely compelled.
The elephant in the room here is "what will the displaced workers do?". Assuming they are low in skills to start with, what will be left for them to go to for employment?
 
2022-08-19 8:51:01 AM  

natazha: It's been years since I've been in a McDs, except to use the restroom.  Either my wife uses the app on her phone or we use the drive-through.  If I went into the place to order and all they had were the kiosks, I'd walk back out. Kiosks are filthy and in some cases more so than the restrooms.


Well, there're a fact of life now.
They aren't going anywhere just yet as spur of moment walkup sales are still a thing. Tho, more and more places are using phone aps to do placing orders, showing menus etc.
Start carrying a pen with a conductive endcap to use for pushing buttons, entering in your security code, ATM etc.
May I recomend the Fischer SPACE PEN.
cdn.shopify.comView Full Size

Great for stocking stuffers, back to school/college survival packs.
 
2022-08-19 8:54:43 AM  
The Speedee System was originally designed for robots.  Suitable robots are just now beginning to exist.
 
2022-08-19 9:02:15 AM  

optikeye: Well, there're a fact of life now.
They aren't going anywhere just yet as spur of moment walkup sales are still a thing. Tho, more and more places are using phone aps to do placing orders, showing menus etc.


Sometimes technology moves too fast for society.

A few years ago, Israeli buses stopped taking cash on board. You had to buy a plastic rechargeable card that you could get and recharge only at certain places. You tap the card when you board. All of that was confusing enough for older people.

Now, everything has changed again to mobile apps and QR codes. You download the public transit app, attach your credit card details, and just scan a QR code whenever you board a bus or train. Again, many older people are confused and frustrated even more. And what about people who do not have or want a smartphone?

CSB...
 
2022-08-19 9:11:32 AM  

wax_on: If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.


Yeah, I invested in Miso Robotics because of the Stainless Steel Rat. McSwiney's was completely automated. I could easily see that happening because fast food is, in a practical sense, something that can be automated.

The fun will come years later, after we've automated a lot of entry level jobs, when we have to realize that not everyone will work... or maybe not all of us will work full-time.
 
2022-08-19 9:25:39 AM  
I wish we had a roller bar sushi place around here.
Welcome to Kura Revolving Sushi Bar!
Youtube xsoeTpzlZA4
 
2022-08-19 9:47:57 AM  

bubbadave1056: I despise, and usually refuse to use, this forced technology.


So. Much. This. I thought self checkout lines would be the bottom, but boy was I wrong.
 
2022-08-19 10:36:53 AM  
What you will see is that the places with the highest per employee costs will go to kiosks and robots first. Those less employed employees will get jobs at other places that can't automate. California, New Jersey, etc. will go first.

The dining out experience will just change, and the stuff that is not important will fall away.

My wife shocked me with a news story making the rounds in Japan of people who paid 30 dollars a person, or thereabouts, for pancakes, eggs, and coffee in Santa Monica, CA. Things are way way out of hand. There is no value there. Just costs on costs.

I eat at McDs pretty rarely, and at kaiten sushi from time to time. The interaction with waitstaff is not so important. Many of the service functions can be done by robots. Oddly enough, cooking is so complicated at conventional restaurants that cooks might be automated last.

For a very long time, Japan has taken a hybrid approach with time and motion improvements, using waitstaff ordering terminals, call buttons for waitstaff, ticket queuing systems, and automated registers. I have been in restaurants running 15 or 20 tables with three employees. Why not?
 
2022-08-19 10:39:21 AM  

MelGoesOnTour: bubbadave1056: I despise, and usually refuse to use, this forced technology.

You're not alone. I also refuse to use the self-check at CVS unless absolutely compelled.
The elephant in the room here is "what will the displaced workers do?". Assuming they are low in skills to start with, what will be left for them to go to for employment?


It is a valid concern. The quick answer is that they have to move up or move down the skill/compensation ladder. There will be plenty of places that will not automate. They can go there.

People can argue about the effects of illegal immigrants on that whole structure.
 
2022-08-19 10:43:02 AM  

thecactusman17: Wait wait wait, the poor woman commutes to work for a scheduled shift but then is sent home w/o pay because there's "not enough work to do"?

I'm not intimately familiar with Carl's Jr's employment agreement, but I'm pretty sure that's illegal in California.

yep, here it is: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_ReportingTimePay.htm


This is really awful. I believe to my bones that the owner and management have to assume RISK. It is horrible and inexcusable to push risk off on wage employees. Risk, in my book, is the only justification for owner profits. Making profits by coercion is immoral and should never be encouraged.
 
2022-08-19 11:00:22 AM  

inglixthemad: wax_on: If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.

Yeah, I invested in Miso Robotics because of the Stainless Steel Rat. McSwiney's was completely automated. I could easily see that happening because fast food is, in a practical sense, something that can be automated.

The fun will come years later, after we've automated a lot of entry level jobs, when we have to realize that not everyone will work... or maybe not all of us will work full-time.


Yeah, that's going to be an interesting time.
 
2022-08-19 11:19:04 AM  
The reason why fast food places are not fully automated, is because it is still cheaper to hire employees than buy the equipment needed to automate
 
2022-08-19 11:20:07 AM  

wax_on: inglixthemad: wax_on: If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.

Yeah, I invested in Miso Robotics because of the Stainless Steel Rat. McSwiney's was completely automated. I could easily see that happening because fast food is, in a practical sense, something that can be automated.

The fun will come years later, after we've automated a lot of entry level jobs, when we have to realize that not everyone will work... or maybe not all of us will work full-time.

Yeah, that's going to be an interesting time.


Kirk Vonnegut wrote a short story where corporate ownership of automation was banned. If a worker/union was displaced by automation. The worker or Union bought the machine and leased it to do work for the corporation at Union wages---which were split amongst the union members.
 
2022-08-19 11:20:48 AM  

kkinnison: The reason why fast food places are not fully automated, is because it is still cheaper to hire employees than buy the equipment needed to automate


And they're self cleaning!
 
2022-08-19 11:38:31 AM  

Chief Superintendent Lookout: zippythechimp: Haven't been to a McDonald's in years
Do they still have a Mcrib?

You do realize the McRib is comprised of basically the leftovers from the kill floor.  I'm only partially kidding.


So can I get one now or what
 
2022-08-19 11:56:50 AM  
i.imgur.comView Full Size
 
2022-08-19 12:20:05 PM  

August11: wax_on: If a company isn't automating everything in sight these days they are losing. I doubt that there is anything about making fast food that couldn't be done by a machine.
Agreed.
And who said, "If your job can be replaced by a robot, it should be."?


If your needs are so tedious and you are so lazy  that you need robots to feed you fast food, maybe you shouldn't exist.
Your decision process always involves the idea that we NEED robots to do things for us.
This is not the thinking of a successful species.  This is the thinking of   one that isn't really needed at all.
So keep lining up to have robots wait on you, you dead-end species.
 
2022-08-19 12:26:31 PM  

bostonguy: A few years ago, Israeli buses stopped taking cash on board. You had to buy a plastic rechargeable card that you could get and recharge only at certain places. You tap the card when you board. All of that was confusing enough for older people.


Portland, OR mass transit has been cash-free for years, but most stations you can buy cards for cash, credit or debt, or you can use the clever app on your phone. I say clever because if you don't buy a ticket until you see someone checking, the time delay before the ticket is valid gives you away.  On the other hand, when we were in Canada a couple years ago, the buses only took exact change. The system was unable to take a fiver for two $2.50 fees.
 
2022-08-19 12:29:15 PM  

natazha: It's been years since I've been in a McDs, except to use the restroom.  Either my wife uses the app on her phone or we use the drive-through.  If I went into the place to order and all they had were the kiosks, I'd walk back out. Kiosks are filthy and in some cases more so than the restrooms.


So you love all the convenience of shiatting in their bathroom, but you're way too good to eat their food.

The hypocrisy of it all boggles me.  Give us everything in the world, and we'll find a way to sneer at it, so we can go build another farking monument to our laziness that is prettier and has more robots.  But you can't use that bathroom, because what do you think this is, Mcdonalds?

You don't even need to exist, and neither does most of your trash.  And none of your robots.  Do it yourself.

/and make sure you use the APP, to add another layer to your insufferability.
 
2022-08-19 12:33:14 PM  

optikeye: .

Well, there're a fact of life now.
They aren't going anywhere just yet as spur of moment walkup sales are still a thing. Tho, more and more places are using phone aps to do placing orders, showing menus etc.
Start carrying a pen with a conductive endcap to use for pushing buttons, entering in your security code, ATM etc.
May I recomend the Fischer SPACE PEN.
[cdn.shopify.com image 375x395]
Great for stocking stuffers, back to school/college survival packs.


Yes, go buy something else to help with your overly high opinion of your worth.  Everybody's doing it.

A space pen.  A robot, right?  You can all go to space.  You all look like Wall-E already.
 
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