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Robotics has the potential to reduce costs and improve efficiency for franchises. This modern form of automation is becoming commonplace among many fast food businesses, but how do you feel about it? Here is a look at the benefits and pitfalls of robotics in fast food franchises.
Benefits of robotics
Reduced costs: Robotics can reduce customer waiting times and labor costs, allowing more customers to be served in the same period of time without the need to increase the workforce.
Greater accuracy: Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, robots create an automated assembly line in which every ingredient is dispensed accurately and precisely, reducing wastage by standardizing portion sizes.
Improved efficiency: By automating repetitive tasks, human workers can be redeployed to roles in which they can add greater value, improve customer service, or speed up food deliveries. This allows the food business to operate at maximum efficiency.
Pitfalls of robotics
Fewer human jobs: One of the main reasons fast food outlets are turning to robotics is to address staff shortages, but there is the potential that fully embracing the technology could further reduce the size of the human workforce, creating a skills gap and eliminating the basic-level jobs that many new starters have previously seen as an opportunity to work their way up the career ladder without the need for qualifications or previous experience.
Not adaptable: Robotics cannot adapt easily to changes in demand, and performing only one function means that they may be rendered obsolete should the business change its operating model or menu. In contrast, human workers can be re-trained to perform a variety of roles and flex their deliverables to adapt to the evolving needs of the business.
Maintenance is required: Although robots will not call in sick or fail to turn up for their shift, they need to be maintained, which means that human workers must be trained to operate and maintain them. Some businesses may hire their robots on contracts that include maintenance, but those that purchase them must be aware of the high costs of repair should a major component malfunction.
In conclusion, there are pros and cons to embracing robotics in fast food franchises. Each business must consider the technology on its merits and balance the benefits against its current and expected workforce demand, the stability of its operations, and the cost-benefit ratio.