The most expensive part of that flimsy burger from your local fast food joint isn't what you put in your mouth; it's the human hands that put it together. But this robotic burger-maker that preps, grills and assembles your Royale with Cheese — automatically — may soon replace human line cooks altogether while saving the fast food industry billions.
Built by San Francisco-based Momentum Machines, this robotic burger maker is designed to do the work of three full-time kitchen staff. The current alpha version of the machine grinds, stamps and grills patties (made to order), then cuts and layers lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes before slapping everything on a bun and wrapping it to go. The only human labour involved is that needed to take the customer's money and hand over the completed burger.
This robot is not only fast — able to spit out 360 tasty burgers an hour — it is exceedingly compact as well. Instead of the normal full kitchen with its multiple workstations dominating the rear half of every restaurant, the burger-maker takes up only 2sqm. Momentum Machines hopes that this will spur a redesign of fast food eateries more focused on the customer experience. What's more, this machine is far more sanitary than current methods. By removing humans from the cooking line, this machine also removes the possibility of contamination from our many bodily fluids.
This machine is also relatively inexpensive to operate compared to human workers; it doesn't call in sick or get hurt or randomly walk off the job either. Momentum Machines estimates that every fast food franchise in America spends an average of $US135,000 annually on staffing. By replacing these people with this machine, the fast food industry could save upwards of nine billion dollars a year — a savings that could be reinvested in much better quality ingredients without raising the cost of the product itself. Now that is a tasty burger. [The National - Motherboard - Food Beast - Momentum Machines]