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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 

2006 Trends in Fast Food Restaurant Robotics


In 2005 we saw a paradigm shift in Starbucks Corporations retail strategy. A strategy from making customers at home in their third place to serving consumer rapidly at the drive thru. It seems this strategy is working as people want their latte now and they want it fast.

Many corporate fast food chains (QSRs) Quick Service Restaurants and their franchisee outlets admit that with unemployment hovering at 5.5% that staffing and labor are by far their toughest issue. And hiring non-English speaking help is problematic as the language barrier upsets customers and complicates communication in the drive thrus.

Many of these restaurants are looking to kiosk ordering systems and robotic assembly line style robots to make the order exactly to corporate policy, exactly the right number of olives on the Tostado and the exact number of pickles on the hamburger. Why?

Cost for one and because robots do not require health care benefits or sue you when they break a fingernail. They do not mouth off to the manager and never show up late. Also by carefully watching the order and processing consistency is maintained and exactly two napkins are provided in the perfectly folded back as it is given to the customer. Expect more QSRs to announcing automating their establishments and watch Wall Street applaud them as they do. So, think on this in 2006.