Inspired by fully-automated restaurant Eatsa, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder said that he is thinking about putting up a restaurant where all workers are robots instead of humans.
Eatsa has very few employees working as kitchen staff as all front-of-house processes are computerized, which allows customers to order and enjoy their meals without seeing a single person the whole time. Because there are only a few employees on the payroll, the restaurant is able to make investments in healthier food items.
In an interview with Business Insider, Puzder said that he would like to try out something similar, such as an all-natural product restaurant that will allow customers to order from a kiosk and pay through their credit card or debit card. Customers will then be able to receive their food without seeing a single person.
An employee-free restaurant is not in the cards yet though, as Hardee's is currently focused on its expansion in the northeast. However, the reason behind Puzder's interest in the concept is well known.
"With government driving up the cost of labor, it's driving down the number of jobs," Puzder said, referring to the rising minimum wages across the United States. The CEO added that automation will become more prevalent due to this, with more locations including airports, grocery stores and restaurants to resort to automation.
Puzder has previously written articles regarding his views on increasing minimum wage, with the CEO criticizing the push for higher limits. According to him, the higher minimum wage limits will not be relevant if companies will be forced to hire fewer workers due to such changes, which would lead to higher unemployment rates.
"If you're making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive — this is not rocket science," Puzder said.
Moving towards automation will not be easy, Puzder concedes, especially in the more complicated kitchen processes. However, for tasks such as taking orders, robots could do even better jobs than humans.
Hilton Hotels is another company that has turned to automation for its workforce, as it has launched the robot concierge known as Connie. The 2.5-foot tall robot is powered by IBM Watson and WayBlazer intelligence, which allows it to answer routine questions usually asked by guests at the front desk of hotels.
Photo: Chris Potter | Flickr