Earlier this year, we caught wind of a young robotics company out of San Francisco that had created its very own burger making machine. Just insert tomatoes, pickles, onions, lettuce, buns and meat and out the other end pops -- you guessed it -- a fully-cooked, ready-to-eat, "gourmet" hamburger.
We've already explored the implications a machine like this would have on the QSR market, the human jobs it would replace, but up until a few days ago, all we really had was speculation (and our own over-active imaginations). Well my friends, imaginate no longer! The global robo- takeover is officially upon us.
But it’s not as bad as you think.
Momentum Machines -- the minds behind the burger maker -- have expressed plans to create their own “smart restaurant" chain, serving burgers made by their own
crime-fighting cooking robots. According to the company’s site, the technology will provide “the means for the next generation of restaurant design and operation.”
Single-item menus, zero line cooks and almost no wait times, MM’s proposed restaurant would be completely minimalist and tailored to improve guests’ experiences. Capable of pushing out approximately 360 burgers an hour, the machine takes up only 24 square feet, allowing for more spacious seating areas and hopefully more time spent improving the overall dining experience.
Best of all, because the staff never really has to touch the food, they also don’t have to wear those silly hair nets and non-slip shoes. Finally, all those cute cashier girls can put some effort into actually looking cute. That is, if they’re still actually needed at all.
Here’s Momentum’s official copy:
Fast food doesn’t have to have a negative connotation anymore. With our technology, a restaurant can offer gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.
Our alpha machine replaces all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant.
It does everything employees can do except better:
The labor savings allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients and the gourmet cooking techniques make the ingredients taste that much better.”
Got all that? That's 360 "gourmet" fast food burgers, whipped out in under an hour and made entirely by robots.
(Robo-burger. Robots made this.)
Check out the whole robotic cooking process here:
Granted, a machine-run fast food kitchen might not be as innovative as it sounds (hasn't Krispy Kreme been doing that for years now?), but it'll still be interesting to see exactly what sort of niche MM will be able to carve out for itself, say five years down the road.
After all, how "gourmet" can you get when your cuisinier is made of cold steel and plastic? And how much money can you really save when you remove wages, but you've factored in repair costs and technician training? And why in God's name can't I get fries with that?
What do you guys think? Is Momentum Machine's "Smart Restaurant" the In-N-Out or Five Guys of the future? Or is it just another Wall-E waiting to happen?