Soon, we could all be talking to refrigerators. At the University of California San Diego, Subway has an unattended Smart Fridge. Hungry, we can ask about the contents of a turkey sandwich. Then, weight sensitive shelves make sure we are charged the right amount.
Because of labor shortages, we might need more talking refrigerators in the future.
Fast Food AI
I suspect in some way, we’ve all had a computer misunderstand us. However, when you want a fast drive thru, it can be frustrating if you say (as did one TikToker) “I just want a large water and a cup of ice cream,” and you pay for ketchup and butter packets. Still, the switch to fast food AI is spreading. Insider reports that 13 fast food chains are satisfying the need for labor and speed with voice bots and robotic fryers.
Then, taking the next step, Panera had an especially good experience with “Tori” as “she” nudged drink sales up 150 percent by upselling one restaurant’s high margin items. Similarly, Taco Bell says that before scaling, they are testing conversational AI at one location.
Our Bottom Line: Labor Turnover
At 3.4 percent, low unemployment can elevate quit rates. In a healthy economy, we are more willing to leave a distasteful job because an alternative is probably available. Now, with job openings soaring, workers feel comfortable quitting.
We track quits through the JOLT numbers that quantify Job Openings and Labor Turnover:
More precisely, at 5.5 pereent, the leisure and hospitality quits rate was much higher than the nonfarm average:
Correspondingly,the number of job openings in leisure and hospitality have soared:
Expressing a different data perspective, QVR Magazine told us that among our economy’s 11 million job vacancies, 10 percent are in food service. Their challenges range from workers unable to do remote work to restaurants’ ascending inflationary costs. Responding, workers departed for other industries.
So you can see why we need talking refrigerators.
My sources and more: A good starting point, Thrillist described the Subway Smart Fridge Meanwhile QSR Magazine had more of the story, Insider had the specific examples, and BLS had the nation’s numbers. Finally, techstory had the huimor.