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Robots Are Taking Over the Restaurant Industry

By Rachel Warren, Jason Hall, and Toby Bordelon – Nov 2, 2021 at 7:45AM

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Three Motley Fool contributors look back on past jobs they would have liked to automate.

Robots are starting to be used in the restaurant industry to perform a wide range of tasks that are easily automated, from preparing salads to entire meals. In this segment of Backstage Pass, recorded on Oct. 22, Fool contributors Jason Hall, Toby Bordelon, and Rachel Warren reminisce on past jobs that they wish could have been relegated to a robot. 

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Jason Hall: Speaking of being kind to folks in retail. There's another one, Toby shared an article, about the robots. The robots are coming to take our jobs. Burger bots in this case, fryer drones. But actually, guys, I don't think that they're coming to take anybody's jobs, because nobody wants those jobs anymore it seems. I remember that talk was, rising labor costs was going to drive jobs out of the restaurant industry.

That was going to be the thing that would automate it. But now it's just obvious that this is about efficiency and productivity, and it's leading to the robot evolution in the restaurant industry, apparently. I remember working in McDonald's (MCD 0.63%) when I was in high school, and the worst job was toasting the buns. Toasting the buns. This was back-

Toby Bordelon: Did we lose Jason.

Rachel Warren: I think we may have. I wasn't sure if it was my Internet.

Toby Bordelon: Jason was telling us a great story about toasting the buns at McDonald's. Hopefully, he'll get back. We're back on to-

Rachel Warren: I know, I'm on pins and needles here. I wanted to hear- [laughs]

Toby Bordelon: Yeah, I wanted to hear this story hopefully in the next minute or two we can get him back before we sign off. Rachel, did you have a bad job?

Rachel Warren: The job itself was not bad. The job that I was thinking of was when I worked for six months at a bank, and the job itself was fine. But this was many years ago, but it was like an a really bad area and my co-workers were extremely difficult, and I just don't know, it was not a pleasant experience.

I look back at it now and I learned a lot from it, but it was not the most pleasant six months of my work life. [laughs]

Jason Hall: The funny thing about that job, Rachel, is it wasn't robots that replaced it. It was apps that [laughs] replaced it. That's what's happened there. Yes, the thing about we just want to say real quick, the thing I hated about the bun-toasting job was it was so monotonous. It was like factory work, it was just brutally painful. Toby, you got one to share with us real quick before we hand it off to you? Or a recording of you anyway.

Toby Bordelon: Yeah, I'll just share. It's hard for me to point to a job I actually hated because I didn't have a lot of bad jobs, really. But there were aspects of my job as a lawyer that I despised.

Many of those are now perhaps being automated by DocuSign, which is quite interesting. Maybe life's getting a little bit better for junior associates. Before we leave, I do just want to share this real quick with our viewers.

This is the article that started this. You see that picture of that dude in a White Castle shirt. That looks so much likely da Vinci Robot, guys. [laughs] Jason. [laughs] I think absolutely, we can modify the da Vinci robot and maybe we can make those burger-flipping and bun-toasting jobs that you didn't like a work-from-home gig.

You can be in your house running your modified da Vinci to actually operate the burger-making line at McDonald's. That would be really interesting.

Jason Hall: I came up with our name. We're going to call it Intuitive Burgical.

Toby Bordelon: That's awesome.

Jason Hall: Right. We're going to roll with that, and hopefully nobody sues us, but we'll take it.

Rachel Warren: [laughs] Minor detail.

Jason Hall: Rachel, it's always a blast being on with you. Thank you for being a night owl because it's awesome that we get to have you for this hour.

Rachel Warren: Oh, thank you. Super fun.

Jason Hall: Toby, my man, happy Friday, buddy.

Toby Bordelon: Happy Friday to you, Jason. Always nice to be here on a Friday afternoon. Love ending my week like this.

Jason Hall: Yeah. It's definitely a great way to end the week. Of course, like I said, we're going to hand it off to you, Toby. We are going to hand off to you, Brian and Brian This a recording from earlier this week, you guys did a deep dive of Procore. Before we hand it off, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Tim Sparks, [inaudible], our people behind the glass doing the production work. We really appreciate you guys.

We love all of our viewers, all of you members. We literally get to do this -- literally and figuratively -- we can't do this without you because you pay for it, and you watch it, so thank you for that, we love you guys. All right, everybody, have a great weekend and Fool on.

Toby Bordelon owns shares of McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends DocuSign and Procore Technologies, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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