Here’s a Look at the World’s ‘First Smart Restaurant,’ Kitchen-Free and Run by Robots


Earlier this year, we caught wind of a young robotics company out of San Francisco that had created its very own burger making machine. Just insert tomatoes, pickles, onions, lettuce, buns and meat and out the other end pops — you guessed it — a fully-cooked, ready-to-eat, “gourmet” hamburger.

We’ve already explored the implications a machine like this would have on the QSR market, the human jobs it would replace, but up until a few days ago, all we really had was speculation (and our own over-active imaginations). Well my friends, imaginate no longer! The global robo- takeover is officially upon us.

But it’s not as bad as you think.

Momentum Machines — the minds behind the burger maker — have expressed plans to create their own “smart restaurant” chain, serving burgers made by their own crime-fighting cooking robots. According to the company’s site, the technology will provide “the means for the next generation of restaurant design and operation.”

Single-item menus, zero line cooks and almost no wait times, MM’s proposed restaurant would be completely minimalist and tailored to improve guests’ experiences. Capable of pushing out approximately 360 burgers an hour, the machine takes up only 24 square feet, allowing for more spacious seating areas and hopefully more time spent improving the overall dining experience.

Best of all, because the staff never really has to touch the food, they also don’t have to wear those silly hair nets and non-slip shoes. Finally, all those cute cashier girls can put some effort into actually looking cute. That is, if they’re still actually needed at all.

Here’s Momentum’s official copy:

Fast food doesn’t have to have a negative connotation anymore. With our technology, a restaurant can offer gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.

Our alpha machine replaces all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant.

It does everything employees can do except better:

  • It slices toppings like tomatoes and pickles only 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 after you place your 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.”

Got all that? That’s 360 “gourmet” fast food burgers, whipped out in under an hour and made entirely by robots. 

(Robo-burger. Robots made this.)

Check out the whole robotic cooking process here:

Granted, a machine-run fast food kitchen might not be as innovative as it sounds (hasn’t Krispy Kreme been doing that for years now?), but it’ll still be interesting to see exactly what sort of niche MM will be able to carve out for itself, say five years down the road.

After all, how “gourmet” can you get when your cuisinier is made of cold steel and plastic? And how much money can you really save when you remove wages, but you’ve factored in repair costs and technician training? And why in God’s name can’t I get fries with that?

What do you guys think? Is Momentum Machine’s “Smart Restaurant” the In-N-Out or Five Guys of the future? Or is it just another Wall-E waiting to happen?

By Dominique Zamora

Dominique would be a foodie if she had money to pay for food. For now, she gets by just looking at food photography, which results in at least one more starving journalism student every time Instagram breaks down.

33 replies on “Here’s a Look at the World’s ‘First Smart Restaurant,’ Kitchen-Free and Run by Robots”

It depends on how far in the future. If we go far enough and make few enough mistakes, we’ll never have to work again.

Overlord assumes the role of master/slave with the robots being the masters. We’re the ones using robots to do OUR bidding.

Isn’t that a good thing? Labor is an outdated concept. Why should anyone need to work once automation is the norm? If robots are taking over all manual labor, there’s no need for food or shelter to cost anything. Imagine a world where you grow up never worrying about what you’re going to do to stay alive, and can do whatever you want with your life. That’s the point of automation.

For those who haven’t picked up on it, robot overlords will always be our future. This is just a start, but it’s really a pretty small start on the overall basis of things. From the pictures, I do hope if gives some options for seasoning the meat, controlling how burnt my bun is, and maybe the overall cook level of my meat. I more a medium-well guy then chard.

Being that this was written by a woman, I don’t know how to interpret the line “Finally, all those cute cashier girls can put some effort into actually looking cute.” IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY GOD DAMN SENSE!!1!

Oh no, they’re gonna force all those lazy people at mcdonalds to actually go learn a real skill that benefits the human race… Oh the humanity! They’re gonna have to get an education and be productive?!?! That’s not the American way.

Just because you work at McDonald’s doesn’t mean you’re lazy; with the job market the way it is, it’s no wonder people might not want to go to college. The best job they might end up with is working at a fast food chain even if they have a B.A.

A few problems, first is sanitation, is it easy to clean? If not, then germs and mold will be a problem. Second is wear, how long can it run before you start finding metallic shards and pieces in the food? Third, is plating and presentation, with no cook, who puts it on a plate and makes it look good? Next, what about special orders, and order order? Can it fix a sandwich without something, and how do you know which is for which table? Finally is speed, what do you do if business exceeds production? I don’t think we have any fear that this will be taking over the world any time soon.

Minimum wage jobs in which employers are forced by minimum wage laws to pay more than a job generates in income will increasingly become a thing of the past, as the financial incentive to develop machines to do those jobs improves. So there will be fewer and fewer minimum wage jobs in the future as a result of such laws. If you have children now, it will be very difficult by the time they are 16-18 to find a first job.

By that logic, we need to lower everyone’s wage below the poverty line, or else they’ll be replaced.

Automation is happening and will happen regardless. Stop trying to screw over the poor in the meantime.

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