D’ya (Click) Want (Zap) Fries (Whir) With It?

With robots and drones taking over other human tasks, it’s just a matter of time before the trend becomes fast-food reality. News sources recently reported that McDonald’s will soon use robots to hand out burgers and fries to customers, as well as perform other chores.

With human food service workers picketing for $15-an-hour minimum wage, worried chain restaurant owners are greedily motivated to believe motorized drones are cheaper. Also, robots don’t take potty breaks, demand raises, have sex behind the grill, smoke joints in the rest room, gripe about long hours nor demand paid vacation and sick days.

My old guy memory about fast-food burger joints goes back many decades, long before anyone thought about robotization. On any day, I could buy six 5¢ burgers for a quarter at the White Castle on Philly’s Broad Street. Today, each is $5 and up, depending on how much cheese and other goo gets piled into the bun with the burger.

Of course, in those olden days, fast-food workers were earning 50¢ an hour. Today’s trend of having robots take over entry-level jobs in many businesses could have considerable social impact. A recent news item reports that robots at factories in China are replacing as many as 60,000 humans to put together computers for Apple and Samsung. Minimum hourly wage today in China is $3.

Seriously, there will be regrets about robots replacing humans. In the U.S., working for McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s is a teenage coming-of-age process. For many, it’s the first step from childhood to adult responsibilities. Question: Will Burger King robots sneak off the job to go to Justin Bieber or Kanye West concerts?

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