[ExI] roboburgers to go

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Wed Sep 25 20:53:43 UTC 2013

On Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 2:26 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> ** **
> *From:* extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:
> extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] *On Behalf Of *Kelly Anderson
> *Sent:* Tuesday, September 24, 2013 1:06 PM
> *To:* ExI chat list
> *Subject:* Re: [ExI] roboburgers to go****
> ** **
> On Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 11:44 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:****
>  ****
> We knew this was going to happen eventually.  A local company did this.
> The timing is interesting, since the fast food workers are threatening to
> strike unless their wages are raised way above minimum.  Check it outwardly:
> ****
>  ****
> http://momentummachines.com/#team****
> ** **
> >…I'll be sending them my resume... :-) This could be huge. The richest
> guy in the state of Utah made a lot of his money selling the styrofoam
> plastic shell McDonald's used for years.****
> ** **
> -Kelly ****
> ** **
> ** **
> Kelly if they hire you, I will be the head of the
> welcome-to-the-neighborhood-Kelly committee.

I would not be able to relocate sadly, but it might make dropping by for
the occasional visit more of a possibility. :-)

> >…This could be huge.****
> ** **
> That’s what I was thinking too Kelly.  If a local fast food place could
> set up a lights-out kitchen, I would go out of my way to eat there.

Their design doesn't quite get there, as someone still apparently has to
load the tomato tube, etc.

> It has nothing to do with busting unions or any kind of labor warrior
> capitalist anything, but rather just that it seems so cool to me.

It is cool, which is why you would want it transparent and visible to the
public. Even McDonalds has turned their kitchens sideways so that you can
look back there. In the old days, you couldn't see the kitchen... which
always made me a little nervous.

> I suppose I could argue it has the potential to be so much cleaner with no
> proles working back there, but even that isn’t really it.  I just like the
> notion of robots making my lunch.  I am addicted to tech.

Yes. Cleanliness is actually my biggest concern about this approach. Little
bits of food would undoubtedly get spread around, and cleaning all the
little bits inside seems like it could be quite a daily chore.

> I briefly worked in a fast food place in my misspent youth, and watched (I
> worked the register, never did work the kitchen.)  It occurred to me way
> back in the 1970s that the process could be automated, long before I knew a
> damn thing about controls engineering.  In retrospect, I am surprised it
> has taken this long.  This robot would solve so many problems.

The front could be semi-automated much faster than the kitchen. I'm
actually surprised that they haven't turned the cash registers around on
the front desk in McDonalds they way they have at Home Depot, Walmart and
some supermarkets around here.

> In a fast food restaurant even on a hopping evening, there are lulls,
> where you have about four cooks standing around in back doing nothing, at
> least one person always on the till doing nothing, sometimes a separate
> cleaning guy maybe doing a piddling nothing in a spotless dining room, and
> at least one shift manager in his office, doing nothing.  This can go on
> for ten or fifteen minutes, with not one customer walking thru the door.

Yes, I'm sure that happens all the time. Not sure what robotics has to do
with that statistical distribution though.

> Experiment: go to a fast food restaurant some evening away from peak
> hours, watch and calculate, or at least estimate, knowing the cost of a
> worker is a minimum of about 22, 23-ish bucks an hour for the lowest tier,
> managers about 40-ish.  Count the number of happy meals going across the
> counter.  Estimate that cost per hour, then figure the capital cost of a
> robot with one guy watching and maintaining, make him a 60 dollar an hour
> guy if you want, a low-end technician level.  Compare.  They could sell
> those burgers 20 percent below McDonalds.  I will eat them, even if they
> just match the competitors.

The capital cost of robotics depreciates over the whole time too, so I'm
not sure this is a strong argument for automation. I will predict that if
the Dumbocrats in Washington ever get the strength to implement the
$15/hour minimum wage they have been talking about lately, I predict you'll
see a lot more of this kind of stuff out there.

The selling point was that you could use higher quality ingredients and
match the price of McDonalds. That would bring me in. Currently, I have to
go to Carl's Junior and spend over $5 to get the kind of quality I

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