The Water Cooler – Self-Ordering Kiosks and Other Job Eliminators

September 13, 2021 12:00 pm · 23 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

Within the next 20 years, do you think most fast-food restaurant jobs will be eliminated by self-ordering kiosks and other machines that can do the work in place of humans?

Talk about it….

Dorothy September 13, 2021 at 12:07 PM

I hope not. I have seen some news stories about service bots. I wouldn’t go to a place that I know for sure uses them.

XJ September 13, 2021 at 7:45 PM

This is what the $15/hour for basic, low-level, unskilled workers gets you. They got their living wage and waged their way out of a job.

Serves them right. At least I know the display that is in English will get the order right.

John September 13, 2021 at 8:49 PM

Really? Most places are much faster checking out when they have them. Home Depot lines are way faster due to them switching to all self checkouts. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, and that’s what this is.

Chuq September 13, 2021 at 12:10 PM

No, I don’t believe most fast food jobs won’t be eliminated because of kiosks. You still need people to make the food, hand it off and clean the restaurant. They also need to have someone who can accept cash as most of the kiosks I see are credit card only.

Whenever I’m in a Fast Food restaurant there’s typically only one or two people at the registers and they usually seem to also be involved in the process of preparing the food.

Reality September 13, 2021 at 1:21 PM

Chuq-everything you mention is already automated. The only thing humans would be needed for would be to maintenance the machines every so often. Although you would need a Hyman to screw up an order or two, to give people something to complain about.

Chuq September 13, 2021 at 2:12 PM

Hmmmm. I don’t think I’ve seen any fast food places with automated janitorial services. I’ve also never been handed my order by a robot. Sounds like the Jetsons.

The Mamba September 13, 2021 at 12:17 PM

Probably, labor costs have made it very inviting for business owners.

Jacknife925 September 13, 2021 at 12:57 PM

I don’t use them!!!!

I also will not purchase from a place the uses bots to deliver packages.
It cost jobs.

Pyrrhus September 13, 2021 at 12:57 PM

It’s inevitable as the price of automated machinery drops and AI improves. It may not eliminate all workers but will greatly reduce the amount of people within a fast food restaurant. The bigger impact is going to be retail warehouse jobs like Amazon. As soon as Amazon can make it cost effective those jobs will say goodbye. Another sector that is in danger is transportation. Within the next 20 years we will see fully automated cars and that will revolutionize the movement of products. There will no longer be delays due to truck drivers needing to rest (mandatory). The only real cost will be fuel costs and maintenance. If the product is uniformly stacked there could even be automated loading and unloading.

What this all means is that we need to start to think how do we transition people to other jobs as automation becomes more and more prevalent. There are a lot of white collar jobs that will also be eliminated in the future. There is a reason why many of the leaders in Tech are in support of UBI, they know what the future holds.

Sick of it September 13, 2021 at 1:10 PM

Yes. A lot of those jobs use to be done by high school and college students. Slowly it became adults taking over and less of those entering the job market and learning there skills there for work. With adults dong the job it became a rally point for pushing for $15.00 a hour wage for a unskilled job. Companies dont have this huge surplus of money as everyone thinks to cover this higher operating cost so they will go to any news technology that cuts there operating cost, and in California there employer liabilities of having to cover everything CA has put on the books that has to be covered by the employer. Entry jobs will completely disappear with technology taking its place

TTD September 13, 2021 at 1:37 PM

I would hope that fast food restaurants would still employee people just entering the job market or who would like to earn some pocket change. These entry level jobs teach life long skills. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be to much of a desire for people to want to work these days. Everyday, I see fast food restaurants closed because they cannot find people to work. IMO there is too much free money floating around which hinders the job market.

Snappy97 September 13, 2021 at 1:38 PM

Yes, food automation is already happening in Europe. There will be a few folks supervising and around for glitches, but for the most part, say goodbye to flipping hamburgers and frying fries. Those of you that comment you won’t go to such a restaurant, that is your choice.

Dawg September 13, 2021 at 1:40 PM

Self serve is already here, and as time goes by, more and more automation will take away jobs. Kids today, especially high school and college students, better do a lot of research, and put a lot of thought into the career they chose. Cashiers, grocery clerks, factory workers, and bank tellers are disappearing, and it won’t be long before drones are delivering the mail. When truck drivers are replaced with self-driving trucks, they will be nothing but a memory, same goes for locomotive engineers. Even in the medical industry, there will be some automation replacing doctors. One doctor doesn’t know everything, but a computer will. A computer can take all the patient’s data and come up with a diagnosis and prognosis. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even come up with a robot that can perform certain surgical procedures.
It’s sort of like when the automobile was invented. The carriage maker and repair business went kaput, but it was replaced by the automobile factory, auto parts and auto repair business.
Progress, it’s always been here, it’s just moving ahead more rapidly.
Travel agents, car sales, insurance brokers, and real estate agents will also be a thing of the past, people can get all the information they need and take care of business online.
I think there will be a demand for jobs like a self-driving car mechanic or drone repair. Dental, nursing, and psychiatric jobs are also good career choices.
It’s going to be a tough go, future job seekers will be competing with millions of refugees and illegals.

Ardath September 13, 2021 at 3:19 PM

Robotic surgery exists today, just like surgeons they are specific to what they can do.
However I recall reading an interview with a MD professor at a medical university. When asked why it took 4 years to teach a surgeon his response was that I can train someone to take out an appendix in 15 minutes, but it takes 4 years to teach them what to do if something goes wrong.

Never Enough September 13, 2021 at 1:41 PM

Already happening everywhere.

Panera has more kiosks than registers.

Taco Bell has kiosks, they announce number when order is ready.

Chipolte announced in last earnings call almost 50% of all orders came through app.

Domino’s Pizza is at 90% plus orders on apps. They deliver or you pickup.

The idea is that you focus labor on cooking and serving. 1/3 of the labor goes away.

Steve September 13, 2021 at 3:03 PM

People like to go out and eat. Especially the ones who do the cooking at home. Picking up food and getting food delivered should ebb when COVID ebbs.

RANDOM TASK September 13, 2021 at 5:47 PM

posted above
I would hope that fast food restaurants would still employee people just entering the job market
well because of >>>min wage demflation<<< there are no starter jobs anymore
nothing to help young kids learn about life and responsibility

they just have to live off of the dem politicians hand outs for votes
and get paid not to shoot anyone
pretty simple for youth now ….
you can just grab stuff off the shelves no need to buy anything
and when they get bored they can hold a riot …
errr protest
to let off dem self diagnosed anxiety
from american freedoms

that other young pro american patriots died for
so they can be system suckers and not work

young people dont want to work but want everything given to them
oh sounds like they need to be dem politicians

problem solved

Jeff (the other one) September 13, 2021 at 6:40 PM

No, I do not, simply because this state is so adamant to kill off any energy but solar, there will not be enough to power the mechanics. I also half expect our liberty loving legislature to regulate how many humans must work at an establishment, or suffer draconian taxes on the profits generated from these automated kiosks.

Ricardoh September 13, 2021 at 7:03 PM

No, it will still be done by illegal aliens.

Jannine September 13, 2021 at 10:40 PM

The best is the DMV kiosk in Safeway. Took 3 minutes to get registration tags printed (if you need a smog, not sure if it works the same.) Scan the bar code on you registration and boom…pay and tags are printed! Way faster than the DMV and/or AAA.

Bob Kazamakis September 14, 2021 at 4:57 AM

Pretty sure that the people who make the kiosks get jobs thanks to the demand for the kiosks.

Sick of it September 14, 2021 at 8:46 AM

Really. One of a few companies that make them are going to replace the other thousand of places that use to employ people. Plus most of that work will be sent over seas to cheaper labor. We are killing ourselves

caskydiver September 14, 2021 at 8:56 AM

Sure..many will be eliminated. Minimum wage creep will accelerate this trend. Unfortunately, minimum wage laws have squeezed out jobs that kids in high school used to have too as many employers understandably are not willing to pay that price for someone unskilled and needs training for a summer job. They need someone that already knows what they are doing, is quick, and will show up for work. Not every job is worth $15/hr.

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