A fast-food worker making food in the deep fryer
How Many Fast Food Jobs Can We Actually Hand To AI?
By Elias Nash
In 2022, the National Restaurant Association reported that 65% of restaurants did not have enough workers. Now, the fast-food industry is feeling the growing presence of AI.
While staff often say their concerns are low wages and a work-life imbalance, many restaurants are taking a cheaper, more efficient route of replacing them with robotic assistance.
According to global restaurant consultancy firm Aaron Allen & Associates, they estimate that as much as 82% of restaurant jobs could be performed by robots.
Voice-operated service systems built around conversational AI programs are being used for ordering kiosks and phone systems. They are now being tested in drive-thru systems.
Behind the scenes, AI is being implemented for tasks such as tracking transactions and consumer trends, determining schedules, and evaluating human workers’ performances.
AI assistance is even making its way into kitchens, like the robotic arm Flippy, which can work a grill and fryer and is claimed to work twice as fast as a person.
While AI technology has made serious strides, it still has a long way to go. Multiple TikTok users have posted videos of the McDonald’s AI drive-thru systems fumbling their orders.