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End of the McJob? Burger making machine arrives

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By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
6/21/2018 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Machine will revolutionize the industry.

A machine that can make custom burgers from a variety of basic ingredients has arrived. The "Creator" will open on June 27 in the Bay Area with just a few employees. The machine represents a significant development in the fast food industry. 

Creator produces burgers that look like this and only cost $6.

Creator produces burgers that look like this and only cost $6.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
6/21/2018 (5 months ago)

Published in Home & Food

Keywords: Creator, machine, robot, burger, San Francisco


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Nobody may care today, but in a few years, fast food jobs will start disappearing in large numbers. The invention responsible for killing those jobs is about to go online in the Bay Area. 

Creator, a burger restaurant in San Francisco opens on June 27. At the heart of the restaurant is "Creator" a 14-foot long machine that grinds meat to order then cooks it, and assembles a burger from a list of ingredients. Creator is designed to handle custom orders. The price of each burger is just $6.

Only a few employees are needed, mostly to stock the ingredients into the machine, to clean, and to handle customer payments and one-off requests. 

The machine was invented by entrepreneur Alex Vardakostas, 33, who worked with a team of engineers and designers. Those experts came from Apple, Tesla, Nasa, and even Disney. 

The product of their collaboration is a machine that can make burgers from scratch. 

Such a machine is the holy grail of fast food burger joints. Millions of people work in the fast food industry preparing food. By automating the process, fast food companies stand to boost their profits by billions of dollars. 

Restaurants typically operate on razor-thin margins with labor being the greatest expense. 

Aside from a few employees to stock and clean, the restaurant operates smoothly.

Aside from a few employees to stock and clean, the restaurant operates smoothly.

Additionally, robots don't get sick, bring germs to work, arrive late, need vacations, or unionize. Not that there's anything wrong with vacations or unions, but while these greatly benefit workers, they also consume the margins that the fast food industry needs to survive. 

So what happens next? 

Creator will serve as the prototype for a family of machines. Some will be direct descendants, built by Vardakostas and his team. Others will be copies built by future competitors. These machines will become the heart of millions of fast food restaurants around the world. 

There will be massive job losses, although those who work in fast food may see some improvement in their working conditions and wages. Less overhead means more money for full-time workers to enjoy better wages and benefits. However, there is no guarantee --only hope those profits will be shared with workers. 

At the same time, displaced workers will have to find ways to develop their skills to perform other work. Hopefully, the new work is more satisfying and better paid. Traditionally, this is what happens when technology disrupts a work environment -- new jobs are created that are often better than the ones the technology destroyed. 

Ultimately, the net effect will be better for everyone. We will get cleaner, well-made, custom burgers when we dine out. The meals will remain affordable. Workers will have easier jobs that aren't so hot and miserable. And those displaced by the changes may find new lines of work, much better than the jobs they lost. Finally, as fast food chains enjoy greater profits they will invest some of that money into their employees and into their operations, improving customer choice and experience. 

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