Business

How robots are helping address the fast-food labor shortage

Struggling to find workers and eager to relieve staff from boring, repetitive tasks, fast-food restaurant chains are adding robots to their kitchens.

Using artificial intelligence, computer vision technology and a mechanical arm, Miso Robotics’ Flippy 2 has been deployed to Chipotle, White Castle and Wing Zone. White Castle said it plans to add 100 Flippy robots to work the fry station at its restaurants nationwide. 

“The tide has turned, this is no longer a question of are robotics coming to the industry,” said Jake Brewer, chief strategy officer at Miso Robotics. “It’s a foregone conclusion. The question is at what pace and in what form.”

Up to 82% of restaurant positions could, to some extent, be replaced by robots, according to a forecast by restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates. Automation could save U.S. fast-food restaurants more than $12 billion in annual wages, the group said.

Other companies in the space include Picnic, whose pizza station can make up to 130 oven-ready pizzas per hour, and Autec, with a line of sushi robots.

So what impact will robots have on the fast-food industry and the livelihood of its workers? CNBC got a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant robot maker Miso Robotics to find out.

Watch the video to learn more.

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