Last month, SEIU-backed groups targeting the fast-food industry staged a one-day strike nationwide to draw attention to their campaign to double their wages and to unionize the fast-food workers.
Apparently, the SEIU feels that the fast-food industry is the new wave of steel, textile, manufacturing, or trucking industries that unions have helped wipe out and the SEIU plans to somehow coerce the industry into allowing the union to collect dues from the paychecks of these low wage workers.
The problem is, unlike days of yore, when unions could maintain a quasi-monopoly in an industry, technology has enabled employers to adapt to counter unions’ demands.
Often, that countering takes the form of outsourcing (either domestically or internationally) or, in many cases, modernizing jobs with machinery that takes the place of humans.
You see, all-too-often, one of the unintended consequences of union efforts to create artificial monopolies in labor markets is that the entrepreneurial spirit normally finds a way around barriers unions place in its way.
Here is where union bosses and the fast-food workers who are being targeted may want to sit up and pay attention.
Meet Alpha. Alpha is a fully-functioning hamburger slicer, dicer and flipper. In fact, Alpha pumps out 360 burgers per hour.
Alpha machine from Momentum Machines cooks up a tasty burger with all the fixins. And it does it with such quality and efficiency it’ll produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.”
With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customer’s liking. And only when the burger’s finished cooking does Alpha slice the tomatoes and pickles and place them on the burger as fresh as can be. Finally, the machine wraps the burger up for serving.
And while you fret over how many people you invited to the barbecue, Alpha churns out a painless 360 hamburgers per hour. [Emphasis added.]
According to Momentum Machines’ website, Alpha “does everything employees can do except better“…
- it slices toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.
- our next revision will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.
- Also, our next revision will use gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast food restaurant, giving the patty the perfect char but keeping in all the juices.
- it’s more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.
The labor savings allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients and the gourmet cooking techniques make the ingredients taste that much better. [Emphasis added.]
You can check out what Alpha looks like here.
Better yet, according to Momentum Machines, Alpha pays for itself in less than a year.
This means that, once the fast-food franchisee pays off his (or her) Alpha, the human assembly lines in McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King can be pared down to just a couple of French fry tenders.
Really, just how many different ways are there to make a Big Mac, a single with cheese or a Whopper anyway?
The secret to these chains success is not the secret sauce, but the uniformity of their menus. What better way to ensure uniformity than with a machine? However, with Alpha, chains can ensure uniformity as well as please customers with diverse burger tastes.
Tired of having humans mess up your order, there’s a machine on the way to take your order too.
In fact, in Europe, McDonald’s has already hired…er…placed 7,000 kiosks for taking orders.
Let’s say you’re not into hamburgers and have a hankering for pizza. No worries. You can always have an machine-assempled pizza from a Let’s Pizza perfectly cook your pepperoni slice.
Let’s Pizza is the only machine able to create pizza by kneading it on the spot and adding only fresh ingredients; water, flour, tomatoes, mozzarella and various toppings.
[Sorry, Taco Bell, there’s nothing out yet on taco and burrito assemblers yet…but that’s probably right around the corner too.]
So, once unions succeed in unionizing the fast-food industry and the franchisees see the benefits of Alpha-betizing (so to speak) their restaurants, the costs of employee turnover will be nearly eliminated, there will be no benefits to pay for and fewer ObamaCare fines to pay with fewer workers.
Oh, and one more added benefit: The SEIU can’t unionize Alpha.
When the SEIU-instigated strike took place last month, the Employment Policies Institute ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal that stated, “Why Robots Could Replace Fast Food Workers Demanding A Higher Minimum Wage.”
It appears that one of the unintended consequences of the SEIU’s assault on the fast-food industry may be coming faster than union organizers think. Depending on one’s viewpoint, that may not be a consequence of unionization but, rather, a benefit.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)