People can purchase a healthy rice bowl with a choice of vegetables like Brussels sprouts, quinoa, kale, sweet potatoes, others at a new Boston restaurant, and it’s made by a robot.
Spyce is a fast-paced restaurant founded by four MIT students and Daniel Boulud, a Michelin-starred chef, to provide healthy food at a cheap price to customers.
Every bowl costs the same: $7.50. Customers order and customize their food using a touch-screen kiosk, but the real draw is the seven buzzing machines sitting behind the kiosks that make their order.
“The openness of the design was something we knew we wanted from the beginning,” said Brady Knight, a co-founder and engineer. “It is kind of a show. It’s fun to see what’s going on behind the scenes. We didn’t want to hide anything because we think what we made is pretty cool.”
One key difference between employing people and using machines, Knight said, is “our robot doesn’t get sick.” It even cleans itself. The founders estimate that the machines can dish out 200 meals an hour with only four people working. ”
The Fight for 15 movement, which advocates for a $15 per hour minimum wage and guaranteed union membership, is led by mostly fast food workers, and their policy goals may cost them their jobs.
“The human labor also tends to be lower-paid,” said Michael Chui, which is one of the reasons fast food restaurants haven’t started the switch to robots.
Chui is a partner at McKinsey Global Institute which conducted a report detailing how fast food jobs are highly vulnerable to becoming automated due to the predictable physical tasks.
The technology is available to make food automatically. There are machines available right now that flip burgers; it just isn’t as cost efficient yet.
“Butchering is pretty hard to do,” said Chui. “On the other hand, machines do a pretty good job of taking the kernels out of corn and a lot of sorting tasks.”
“I think this is going to take over the world,” said Shannon Magpiong, a customer who works across the street of the restaurant.
Spyce is sitting at 4.5/5 stars on Yelp at the time of publication.
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