Near Fully Automated Cafe Opens In San Francisco
Usually, you see advertisements about intimate dining experiences or personal touch, but this restaurant is going the opposite direction. Eatsa is an automated cafe located San Francisco that serves quinoa bowls and the customer never interacts with a person. There are no waiters, no one behind a counter, you just enter your order at a tablet and pick up your food from a cubby.
For now, the food is still prepared by people behind the scenes, but the owner wants to automate this as well if it can be done less expensively than employing people. There will always be someone to help with issues with the tablets and to clean up, but for now they are saving on payroll and real estate.
Many people are concerned that this along with automating other industries will elimate several jobs and could have a far-reaching impact on our economy, but the owner is one of the optimists that sees the positive side. David Friedberg, a software entrepreneur, believes this is no different than other technological shifts. From The New York Times:
“The reality is the economic growth from new technology has always resulted in new economic activity and job descriptions. We can sit and debate all day what the implications are for low-wage workers at restaurants, but I don’t think that’s fair. If increased productivity means cost savings get passed to consumers, consumers are going to have a lot more to spend on lots of things.”
Of course, the assumption here is there are enough consumers left with jobs. While I agree that some job growth will come from this technology boom, what is uncertain is the number that will be cannibalized by the technology we build. Unfortunately, I think it will far outweigh how many we create. How quickly we see this tip to massive unemployment is the question. Until then, let’s all go out and have a tasty quinoa bowl at an automated cafe.