Soaring labor costs and inflation have accelerated McDonald’s push into automation. The fast-food chain unveiled its first concept restaurant earlier this month in Forth Worth, Texas, without human interaction.
The company wrote in a press release, “There’s never been a McDonald’s restaurant quite like this before.”
It features automated ordering kiosks — there are no cashiers — even automated machines dispense orders to customers, either through the drive-thru or inside. The one thing McDonald’s didn’t automate was the kitchen.
Food blogger “foodiemunster” posted a video of the new concept restaurant.
You asked for $25 minimum wage
You get: First fully automated McDonalds in Texas pic.twitter.com/hd5AsBTOwX
— ELIJAH (@ElijahSchaffer) December 22, 2022
Fast-food chains have been testing robots for years. Inflation is compressing margins for restaurants, forcing them to consider automation to save on labor costs.
The cost of robotics has decreased over the years, allowing companies to make broader investments in the space.
The search for cost savings will be in the form of automating low-wage/low-skilled labor, something we’ve warned for years that would eventually displace millions of workers this decade.
Chipotle, Wing Zone, White Castle, and Jack in the Box are other restaurant chains investing in robotics.