Restaurateurs Begin To Automate Amid Labor Shortage

By Tyler Durden

Restaurant owners are blaming generous unemployment benefits for the current labor shortage. Ahead of the busy summer season, some restaurateurs are warning they might have no other choice but to use robots.

According to Andrew Gruel, founder and CEO of Slapfish seafood, with 11 locations in the Southwestern US and new ones quickly opening up across the country, if the labor shortage persists, significant changes to the restaurant industry are coming in the form of automation.

“What I fear in terms of the long-term effects of this is that we start to automate and robotize our industry,” Gruel told Fox News. “That’s the only option if a lot of these businesses are going to continue to try and survive, especially when there’s a lack of labor or if the cost of labor is so high that it’s prohibitive for anybody to grow.”

“It’s is a really, really tough and tight labor market,” said Gruel. “I’ve talked to restaurants who are not even opening because they don’t have the staff to be able to hit a certain amount of hours.”

Slapfish is so desperate for workers that it’s offering dishwashers with no experience $20-$25 per hour. The chain is even offering $500 signing bonuses.

“We’ve had to alter our operations. We’re limiting hours. My wife, myself, my kids we’re in 12, 14, 16 hours a day,” he said. “That’s really what it’s come down to. It’s a lot of owner-operators stepping in, scaling back on growth, and getting down in the weeds themselves.”

Gruel believes one primary reason for the labor shortage is President Biden’s unemployment benefits that disincentivize people to work because they make more money collecting stimulus checks.

In one Jersey Shore restaurant, called Island Grill, the labor shortage is getting so ridiculous that they have already turned to robotic servers.

“Once we realized that we may not have any servers this summer, we were like, ‘Well, we may need to look into this a little more,'” Island Grill owner Andrew Yoa told News12

Yoa said his restaurant is currently leasing the robot, known as “Little Peanut.” The robot serves as a food runner and busboy to support server staff.

“It’s basically extra arms for them so that they could be getting a drink order for someone and the meals for another table could be coming out or an appetizer could be coming out,” he said. “It can do multiple stops so it can stop at one station, drop off an appetizer and go to drop someone’s meal off.”

A full-blown labor shortage is underway thanks to trillions in Biden stimulus are now incentivizing potential workers not to seek gainful employment, but to sit back and collect the next stimmy check for doing absolutely nothing in what is becoming the world’s greatest “under the radar” experiment in Universal Basic Income.

The National Owners Association (NOA), an independent, self-funded advocacy group of McDonald’s franchisees, warned earlier this week that an “inflationary time bomb” is being triggered by labor shortages.

NOA went on to warn that higher wages, signing bonuses, and paid interviews are no longer working as fast-food workers sit at home collecting stimulus checks.

NOA said franchisees must increase pay and benefits to attract workers. These additional labor costs will be passed onto the consumer in the form of higher Big Mac prices.

The Federal Reserve’s narrative that inflation is “transitory” is a load of crap. Prepare for much higher costs at fast-food joints.



Bank of America recently warned clients: “Buckle up! Inflation is here.”

As for now, technological unemployment is set to soar as workers are sidelined, showered by free money from the federal government that disincentivizes them from working. By the end of this decade, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of fast-food workers will be displaced by automation and artificial intelligence. Now is the time to boost automation, get these workers out of crappy jobs and retrain them for the new economy. Or, in Biden’s world, keep these people at home on UBI.

Source: Zero Hedge

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