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The Dallas Morning News writes that as the restaurant industry faces a labor crunch, automation is becoming more and ore key to many operations. “For years, restaurateurs have seen a shrinkage of the crop of willing workers — traditionally teens and early twenty-somethings,” the Morning News reports. “That's due both to shifting birthrates and competition from other employers.”

So, chains like McDonald’s are now using automatic beverage dispenses linked right to computer ordering systems so that real people don’t have to fill up soda cups. And a Kentucky company called QSR Automations has created a system that tells chefs when to start making various meal components so that they’re all done at the same time – taking the guesswork and expertise out of the process.

Industry officials tell the Morning News that they are not looking to eliminate jobs, but simply to provide alternatives when people cannot be found to take specific positions. But the reality is that when automation can provide a faster, cheaper alternative to flesh-and-blood labor, it is going to be hard to rationalize hiring an actual human being.
KC's View:
They can say what they want. If automation helps save money because fewer people can be hired, then restaurant chains are going to move in that direction…just like so many supermarkets embraced self-checkout systems because it allowed them to reduce labor, as opposed to using those systems as a way of freeing up people to actually perform other customer-relevant duties on the sales floor.