Robots could replace some fast-food workers in 10 years, CEO says


The experience you have at a fast-food restaurant is expected to change dramatically over the next 10 years thanks to big advances in technology.

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How automation could change the fast-food industry

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said artificial intelligence (AI), robots and automation could replace some humans over the next decade.

Yum Brands owns the popular fast-food restaurant chains Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell.

Amid ongoing protests by workers who want to be paid $15 an hour, restaurants are looking for ways to control one of their biggest expenses: labor.

Although Creed said he isn’t sure robots will be replacing U.S. fast-food workers in the short-term, it’s already happening at one Pizza Hut location in Shanghai, China.

A robot actually greeted me at the door and took me to my table,” Creed explained.

The executive added that by the mid-2020s there will likely be a “dramatic change in how machines run the world.”

Creed said self-ordering technology, such as through kiosks and mobile ordering, is a part of the process that’s going to change first — but it won’t happen overnight.


And he believes automating the complicated process of actually preparing orders won’t happen nearly as quickly.

Changes are already happening…

If you’re having a hard time visualizing what the fast-food restaurant experience may be like in 10 years, look no further than the small California-based chain Eatsa.

Instead of walking up to a cashier, customers place and pay for their orders using iPad kiosks.

Once an order is placed, the customer heads over to a wall of cubbies, where they’ll pick up their meal after it’s been prepared — about three to five minutes later.

So you can get in and out of the restaurant with no human interaction at all.

Do you think fast-food restaurants will start using robots to replace workers over the next decade? Share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

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