Automatic service quality

labor/restructuring

A rumor has it that at the peak of the “hot autumn” strike wave in northern italy, Agnelli, the owner of fiat, imagined, wished or wanted to hope for a completely automatic factory – without workers, strikes, conflicts, sabotage.

Another rumor is that as the fight for $15 movement erupted in usa, some big food chain bosses began threatening to automate their stores, and that they would not need living labor – which strikes, clashes, demands.

Their dream seems to come true in Guangdong province, china. A subsidiary of “country garden” company, Qianxi Robot Catering Group has opened the world’s first robotic restaurant. The machines promise spectacular performance: customers (not robots!) can choose from 200 different dishes, served in less than 20 seconds…

It will be an interesting attraction… But is the “food industry” really going to get rid of human labor? It is a dream, always the same dream, which in this case is attributed not to the “cost” or negativity of human labor, but to the fear of infection. However, by filling robotic machines its store, Qianxi Robot Catering simply transfers human labor a little further back: let’s say to the technicians who will maintain and repair these machines. And even further back, to manufacturers and developers. And even further back: in the rare materials mines, and in the transportations. All this regardless of the raw materials of food that, let’s assume, will remain the same as in a common restaurant.

We will not prophesy “it is anti-commercial to be served by machines”! (Posh restaurants will always have garcons with bow-ties that will pull the chairs for the good customers to sit). We will only predict that the idea of ​​a robotic eatery will remain an exception: customers may admire the absolutely mechanical kitchen, but sooner or later they will wonder what is coming out of there…The beastly mechanical “brewery” can be awe-inspiring; but it is not eatable…

Meanwhile, from the point of view of human labor (which is supposed to be generally replaceable by machines), we have no reason to worry. Just let the basic weekly working time go down to 10 hours (instead of 40) with salary increases, and let’s see which robot owners will think what!

(photo above: This is the robotic kitchen. In the list of dishes it may say: the oil may also contain grease residues. For those allergic to machine lubricants…

bottom: The robotic waiters. Cute – huh? With their ears, their bright eyes… If you crash on any of them, don’t leave any tips!)