Monday, August 11, 2014

The Battle Over Minimum Wage Increases: Burger-Flipping Robot Edition

Oh yeah, just keep on raising the minimum wage, and more and more employees will be replaced by machines.

The Momentum Machine company reports:
Our alpha machine frees up all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant.It does everything employees can do except better:
it slices toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.
Our next revision will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.
Also, our next revision will use gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast food restaurant, giving the patty the perfect char but keeping in all the juices.
It’s more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.
The labor savings allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients and the gourmet cooking techniques make the ingredients taste that much better.
A burger cooked and completely assembled by a robot:



  1. I would say minimum wage laws are part of the catalyst for things like this. The bottom line however (including minimum wage laws) is that the government has made it too costly to employ people in low paying jobs. Who knows though Bob? Maybe we are both wrong and this new device is a revolution waiting to happen to the food industry (like the car was when it came out) and is more efficient. I remember people have always claimed new tech would destroy jobs yadda yadda yadda. I think it creates new different jobs a lot of the time too (much like computers).

    1. This is why these technologies are more disruptive in a highly regulated system. If it costs $30k but replaces 3 workers making $15k/yr and will last at least 1's a no brainier.

      If the government stayed out, these technologies would not be in such high demand, thus making them more expensive and labor less expensive. Just another example of government destruction.

    2. Man innovates to alleviate labor. The fact that this machine may make this type of labor obsolete is not destructive per se.

      It may be that minimum wage laws were the impetus for this device's existence and what ultimately makes it financially viable; if so, it would be disruptive in the sense that it'd be a misallocation of finite resources.