Restaurants facing labor shortages are turning to robots

In the same way that the pandemic expedited the shift to working from home culture, labor shortages appear to be hurrying along robots who can perform human tasks.

The phenomenon has already made some ground when it comes to restaurants. The Flippy robot, which can already flip burgers, has been frying wings at restaurants across America.

Having been in a developmental stage for close to five years, Flippy 1 and 2 are undergoing pilots at CaliBurger and White Castle.

The plan is for usage to be scaled up from 2022. While the labor shortage could play its part in hastening the process, that is not the key motivation for Stephanie Sentell, SVP of restaurant operations and innovation at Inspire.

“Our strategy and our vision for automation at Inspire is really not about the labor shortage, it is all about how we increase our capacity,” said Sentell. “The automation that we are looking at will allow us to unlock that and provide faster food to our guests.”

However, the labor shortage does not seem to be going away anytime soon. The National Restaurant Association confirmed that 80% of operators are understaffed.

Robotics will help ease such shortages as well as speeding up services.

Innovating in automation and digital sales even contributed to Chipotle's successful Q3 earnings results.

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