The future automation of food service

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by vic cardenas, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    I thought this would be an interesting article to discuss. I'm sure we've all seen this tablet technology at some of the chain restaurants and QSR's around. Now Chili's and Applebees are pushing to eliminate many server jobs. Another reason to support your local small businesses. 

    I was actually quite surprised to see "cooks" stated in the article as one of the jobs being eliminated by this technology. Sure, I could see one day in the distant future there being little tubes dispensing food product onto a hot flat top and little robotic spatula arms turning the food. But seriously? Not likely. I figure most of the jobs eliminated would be white collar, or very simple blue collar jobs, like operating machinery, forklifts and whatnot. 

    I guess most of us are safe though. If we do end up living in a dystopian future where most jobs are eliminated by kiosks, androids and terminators and most humans are just a poor, oppressed underclass; I figure the few jobs left over for humans will be prostitutes, drug dealers and Chefs.
  2. michaelga


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    Retired Chef
    Until people become so dis-interested with food that they actually prefer a nutritional cube.  

    No mess no fuss just swallow and get back to the drone work.
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
  4. chefross


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    Former Chef
    This whole automation thing will have an effect on the tipping situation.

    If I order my food from a tablet, that means I am doing the work.

    All the server does is bring the food to me.

    Do they deserve a tip for that?

    The article even mentions servers no have the ability to serve more patrons as they now don't have to interact with each customer.

    Very slippery slope.
  5. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Culinary Instructor
    There have been many places I have been in that I would have prefered to enter my own order, at least it would go in and come out correct..

        Keep in mind that in this country unlike Europe a servers job is usually something most of these people can do or have to do. In Europe it is a profession that is usually chosen for life and is carried out with profficiency and class. Here in many cases its a stop off job between other jobs or schools..Over there you were trained and actually worked under a highly polished waiter for at least a year. You were taught all the different  types of service as well as wines. Here in a lot of cases its trail for two days if that..

    Here we leave a tip even if service is  bad or substandard. How then do we expect it to get better if we tip either way?

        Why should the server strive to get better when he or she knows they will get tipped eitherway. Society should only blame themselves for bad service.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  6. foodpump


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    Tipping is one issue.. The waitress interviewed though the tablet system was great because she could serve more tables and collect more tips, and people could order more "impulse" stuff.

    When I go into home centers and supermarkets, I have a choice of paying at the cashier or going to a self-serve station and checking out the items myself.  I always go to the cashier, and if the store is so cheap as to not have any cashier available, I dump my purchases on the check out stand and walk out without the items.


    1) because the cost of the cashier is factored into the sales price.  I want what I'm paying for.

    2) I hate the machines and have trouble with them, especially with daily specials, marked down items or buying bulk items

    3) A store manger once saw me dumping stuff on the counter and walking out, he caught me at the doors and asked me why I didn't use the self check-out.

    (me)"How much do those machines cost?"

    (manager) "About xxxx dollars, why?"

    "If that machine beeps at me, which it invariably will, I will kick it and smash it to bits. That's why I won't use it.  Be Happy."

    Food automation is another.  In the baking industry most products are produced with highly automated equipment.  A lot of high volume food items are automated: French fries, meatballs, burger patties, etc.  Sous-vide has been around since the 80's but back then it was called the "Knacka" system, and used  in institutions like hospitals and prisons in Europe.

    For medium to high end a'la carte items, I think the cook is safe for now.  People want what they pay for, for everything else, there's Applebees.