‘I want to try it,’ Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider, speaking about the idea of employing robotic employees.
Mr. Puzder admits that after visiting Eatsa, a 100% automated restaurant that sells quinoa bowls, the idea has sparked new interest.
Read more: Robots and your job: What’s coming next?
Robots may end up being cheaper than people
With all the political talk of raising minimum wage, companies that employ minimum wage workers, such as fast food restaurants, are looking ahead for ways to cut down on costs.
‘If you’re making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive — this is not rocket science,’ Mr. Puzder said.
He also commented on the fact that when considering robots versus humans, companies won’t have to deal with things such as absenteeism, tardiness, workplace injuries, or discrimination lawsuits.
‘They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,’ he said.
In fact, a restaurant in China recently started using a battery-powered robot to serve tables. It can work for 8 hours at a time, and is said to be able to last for at least 10 years. It even takes customers’ food and drink orders!
But still, there are some hurdles to overcome related to robotics. For some tasks that aren’t quite routine, employing robots could present a challenge; but for repetitive tasks such as taking an order or making the same kind of food over and over, robots may be even better equipped for the job.
In addition, the idea of robotic employees has sparked some controversy. The World Economic Forum predicted in January that 7.1 million jobs could be lost due to technology, while some 2.1 million would be created in specialized fields such as computing and engineering.
Millennials prefer automation to people
The other interesting factor Mr. Puzder notes is that though it may present a hurdle for some customers to adjust to a fully automated restaurant, millennials actually prefer not to speak to a person.
‘I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks … and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody,’ he says.