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Finding Robots Where You Least Expect Them … in the Food Industry

Topics: Career Profiles
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What, do you think that your job is safe just because you deliver food to hungry mouths? Since the days of the automat, people haven’t cared much about who is making their food — as long as the grub is good. Yes, one day we may wax nostalgic about when we dealt with an angry chef or charming bartender on our nights out … or we’ll just ask the robot for another perfectly poured glass of wine, and go back to reading something on our phones. Here’s where robots are coming for your (food service) jobs.

The Secret Ingredient Isn’t Love

You might think that the creative arts — music, dance, cuisine — are immune to automation, but you’re flat-out wrong. A company named Moley Robotics has brought a robot chef to the market and you’ll probably be able to purchase one for home use later this year. (If you have about $15,000 lying around.) With arms that descend from the ceiling like a Jetsons homage, the robot chef can be programmed to flawlessly create meals, and even clean up after itself. And what’s better, it won’t storm off in a huff if you send the soup back to the kitchen. Real personal chefs can run about $44,000 per year, according to our PayScale survey.

Give Me a Double, Robot

If you’ve sailed on a particular Royal Caribbean cruise ship lately, you might have had your drink order filled by a robotic bartender. On the Quantum of the Seas, the Bionic Bar serves up hundreds of cocktails to order (when it’s up and running). It may not have the charm of a college student looking to make some money in between semesters at Ohio State, but a robot bartender also doesn’t water down the drinks (unless it’s programmed to). Or if you like, visit a bar in eastern Germany to get a drink made by Carl, the (kind of creepy) animatronic bartending robot. That college student slinging your suds is likely costing about $30,000 per year, according to our Salary Survey.

Robots Manning the Fry Station

Maybe the future of fast food is robotic. Last spring’s NRA show saw the debut of some fancy robots aimed at making the perfect batch of your fast-food favorites. You can get a robot that makes great fries, dishes you out the perfectly customized salad (without sneeze guards), or even rolls you the “perfect” sushi roll. Do they get paper hats to wear on their robotic heads? I hope so. Fast food workers make on average $8.00 per hour (before paper-hat costs are factored in).

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The FarmBot in the Dell

Not only is the farming lifestyle tough, it’s also at risk from the automation movement, even out in the fields. While big farm machinery is often computerized to the point that combine cockpits look like mission control centers, there are also innovations in automated farmers like FarmBot, a recently launched invention that regulates planting, watering, and even harvesting. What’s more, this farmer runs on desserts … or, rather, on Raspberry Pi and open-source software. So you can make it your own. A human farmer today makes on average $38,800 per year, according to our Salary Survey (dell not included).

Tell Us What You Think

What jobs have you seen robots taking over? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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