Working in the fast-food industry can be hard work for little pay, and now employees have to worry about their job security as well. Fast food remains popular, but one prominent CEO predicts that within the next decade, more work in fast food restaurants will be taken over by robots.
Some places are already testing this. McDonald’s and Wendy’s are experimenting with order-taking kiosks that are supposed to supplement cashiers, not replace them. While Treasury Secretary and LEGO Batman booster Steven Mnuchin claimed this week that we’re 50 to 100 years out from robots stealing our jobs on a mass scale, the truth is that robots are already taking our jobs, and will keep doing so.
What Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed told CNBC this week is that he expects that robots will take over many tasks in fast food restaurants in the next 10 to 15 years. Pizza Hut, part of the Yum Brands group, is already experimenting with an order-taking robot in Japan and kiosks elsewhere in Asia.
Some robots work on the other end of the fast food transaction, working as delivery devices that keep food hot and secure for deliveries within a short distance of the restaurant.
The company, which also owns KFC and Taco Bell, is looking to keep up with its automating competitors. Burrito-makers and pizza delivery drivers shouldn’t expect to get their pink slips right away, but we can expect to see jobs slowly taken over by robots over the coming decade and a half or so. Robot-made pizza and robo-servers might be only experimental tricks now, but could take over the industry once restaurants integrate them.