The key to shorter lines and higher profits at one restaurant chain: a salad-making robot.
Fast-casual chain Sweetgreen in May opened its first restaurant staffed by a proprietary robot that shoots kale, cheese and other ingredients down tubes into bowls traveling on a conveyor belt. A handful of employees add finishing touches, such as spiced cashews.
The system can slash the number of workers and time it takes Sweetgreen to make a bowl by more than half, executives said. Eventually, the company intends for salad-making robots to staff all of its new restaurants, working alongside human employees.
It’s one thing to do this at a single restaurant. Let’s see them scale it across hundreds. I’d also like to know what the backup plan is if the robot craps out since the salad-making robot cuts the number of humans on the assembly line from nine to two.
That said, California’s $20/hr minimum wage for fast food workers surely incentivizes efforts like this. People sort of forget that the real minimum wage is $0, as businesses will shed jobs rather than see labor costs skyrocket.