No human involvement whatsoever

San Francisco restaurant will have your burger made entirely by robots

By —— Bio and Archives--June 22, 2018

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San Francisco restaurant will have your burger made entirely by robots

You wanted the $15 minimum wage!

Economic activity does not happen in vacuums. You can’t force people to do things if it doesn’t make sense for them to do things. There will always be an innovation or a workaround people find that allows them to act in accordance with their own best interests.


The American left is determined to force small businesses to overpay for labor. You try to explain to them that an unskilled worker can’t possibly produce enough to make a $15-an-hour investment in that worker (which doesn’t even cover taxes and other employment costs) worth it. The worker’s efforts will never pay off for the employer sufficiently to make that a good decision.


But the left doesn’t believe it. They think businesses are owned by millionaires who simply sit on gigantic piles of cash, and the only reason they don’t jack up wages is that they’re greedy, horrible people. Pass a law that says they have to, problem solved.

Except for one thing: When you make something more expensive than its worth, people won’t want to buy it, and they’ll be open to alternatives. And that creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs like Alex Vardakostas, who has invented a robot that can prepare your food for you. Each one costs $1 million, and a San Francisco restaurant called Creators is buying.

Oh, and it’s not just a concept. It’s finished. It works. We have video:

Don’t think automation can really take and prepare your order without human help? You think wrong:

Each machine costs under $1 million, Vardakostas said, and prepares up to 120 burgers an hour. (Vardakostas said he expects to improve the machines’ speed over time.)

Customers will order through a mobile app, with human “burger consultants” on hand to offer assistance. (Initially, these employees will also guide customers through the app, which won’t be available to download at the launch.) All burgers will be cooked medium when the restaurant opens; eventually, patrons will be able to customize their burgers’ doneness and seasoning. They’ll also have their pick of more than a dozen sauces—sunflower tahini, smoked oyster aioli, ballpark mustard—created with the oversight of local chefs Nick Balla and Tu David Phu and Pilot R + D, a culinary research and development firm.

Once an order is placed, air pressure pushes a brioche roll from La Boulangerie, a local bakery, through a tube. The robot slices, toasts and butters the bun to order, drops it onto a leaf-shaped tray and dollops it with carefully calibrated amounts of sauce. Different components slice tomatoes, pickles and onions, shred the lettuce and grate the cheese. The robot also grinds the meat—a blend of pasture-raised chuck and brisket—to order. A specialized mechanical grip packs the patty loosely —so much so that, in human hands, it would break apart before reaching the grill. The light handling keeps the grain of the meat aligned, a texture-enhancing technique borrowed from three-Michelin-star chef Heston Blumenthal. Once the patty is done—thermal sensors and an algorithm determine the temperature and the cooking time—a robotic arm drops the meat onto the bun. Patrons pick up their orders at the counter when their names appear on a screen. The process takes about five minutes.


Minimum wage in San Francisco is $14 an hour

It remains to be see how good the burgers are, of course, but clearly the movement to overprice unskilled labor has led innovators to see an opportunity, and Vardakostas has taken full advantage.

The minimum wage in San Francisco is $14 an hour, which is not quite as high as the left wants but still wildly out of sync with the actual value of the jobs being performed in a place like this, or of the abilities of the people performing the jobs. Creators does have some human employees, but not working the line or preparing the food, and that’s a huge labor cost savings. Even with the machines costing $1 million each, that’s still going to save the restaurant money over time compared with the cost of paying people $14 an hour to do the jobs. And over time, as liberals continue to jack minimum wages higher (especially in larger cities where people desperately need work), these machines will improve in cost and performance so they become even more viable and economical.

So if you’re in San Francisco . . . leave! It’s crazy there. But if you can’t, you might as well try a robot-prepared burger at Creators. At least you know the robot won’t spit in it.


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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain

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