Reuters today published a story on the use of robots and other labor-saving devices in food service, which shows that, on the whole, most restaurateurs are staying with carbon-based human life forms for the bulk of their needs due to the high cost of investment in robotics, complexity of tasks in food service, and the problems presented by robot maintenance and repair issues in a restaurant setting.
The article’s authors — Lisa Baertlein and Peter Henderson — explain that while robots and labor-saving devices may be changing the way restaurant staff do their jobs, the devices still haven’t taken over those jobs in food service, unlike other industries.
“The early evidence suggests robots and other forms of automation are merely reshaping the work of people in food service,” said the reporters in their analysis. “They are not — as they have in banks, on factory floors and in other sectors — replacing them.
“In spite of improvements in technology, minimum wage hikes between 2000 and 2008 caused little immediate displacement of workers by technology, especially in kitchens, according to a study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and DePaul University.”
In fact, the reporters cite NRA data compiled for Reuters, showing that the number of restaurant employees per site actually grew between 2001 and 2015. While the report cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that show restaurant employment will grow 0.6 percent annually over the next eight years.
This is especially important this year, when a major overtime rule is put into effect in December,mandating that all salaried workers earn a much higher minimum than is currently the case or be eligible for overtime pay for working any hours over 40 in a specific work week. Many restaurateurs and food service organizations, including the NRA, have adamantly opposed this measure and others to increase the minimum wage to more than double its current $7.25 level. Read More...