11.09.2006

 

Fast food drive-throughs go long distance

Fast food drive-throughs go long distance

From the article: Two other reasons for making the change: 1) At least here in North Carolina, many stores have employees who cannot speak English, and 2) It will eventually be easy to have people in India taking the calls at much lower cost.

If in-store employees ar not dealing directly with customers, it is that much easier to move to a Manna-style management system.

Comments:
Wow. This trend is sure to accelerate what with the minimum wage increasing and more stupid, incompetant hires at stores. I welcome the advancement.
 
"By moving the order-taking off-site, Wendy's cracked down on thefts that occurred during late-night shifts when some employees gave food to friends at the drive-through window and pocketed the cash without ringing up the orders."

Favorite part of the article. Theft is rampant in these businesses. I look forward to the day smart robots can handle my order, in a completely sterile environment. Praise The Flying Spaghetti Monster!
 
I got tired of dealing with telemarketers, so a few years back, as a gag I started turning tables and messing with the callers instead of just hanging up, or screaming 'Do Not Call', at them.

Very entertaining.

I should record some of these calls that I get, I'm sure that there'd be a huge market for it.

I relayed the following true story to New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, when I randomly bumped into him one day on K Street in Washington, DC, in the hopes that he would relay it to his colleague Thomas Friedman, who writes on issues like this in his "The World Is Flat" book, and I'll share it here with you guys as well.

On one call I got, I pretended that I had Tourettes Syndrome and I've got to give the woman credit, she hung in for some real abuse from me and she never once lost her cool and remained completely professional throughout the entire call, no matter what I threw at her. After about a solid 20 minutes or so of this, I was a little wiped, so I dropped the act and talked to her for a bit.

Turns out she was about 22-23, had just recently graduated college, spoke *5* languages fluently, and was calling from....

Romania.

She was calling to drum up business for a *local* landscaping services in Bethesda, MD, and here's the kicker, she was earning $200 a month at this job.

If you're an American businessman, the math is really simple, you can either hire a surly, functionally literate, American with a GED diploma, that's going to be rude on the phone and drive away your business, for about $1,000 to $1,500 a month or you can go with someone like her for $2,400.00 a year.

On Wall Street they call making a business decision like this a "no brainer."

America is doing nothing to help itself and reverse this trend and it will accelerate, and it really doesn't matter who's in political office, and by the time we wake up to that fact, it's going to be too late.

The rest of the world is going to, literally, eat our lunch.
 
You sound like a real asshole to verbally abuse that Romanian woman. You should just hang up. Those poor people don't need your shit.
 
Now it's only a matter of time until voice regodnition/text to speech allows total order taking automation, and then automated food cookers. I mean, it's not like fast food isn't already made in an assembly line. Realy, the path of fast food has been set for so long, it dosen't realy interest me very much.

What realy has me wondering is if and how this will affect non-franchise restraunts. Will their robot-run rivals set such a high standard of service that they'll be even harder to compete with? Or will the use of automated workers for menial tasks such as cleaning give smaller food joints a leg up?
 
Anon, I'm not going to get into a back and forth with you on this, since you seem to have missed the part where I am not the one making these calls, unasked, to sell me goods and services I don't want, or need, they are.

Since I'm on the 'do not call' list and the companies that make these calls don't seem to mind the massive fines they would get if I reported them to the authorities, then I don't mind doing what I have to on my end to ensure whoever calls me never calls me back. So far, this method has worked better than any other I've tried.

As far as AI Voice Recognition Systems go, they're not quite there yet.

This can be most clearly seen with the Closed Captioning Systems for the deaf that are used on live TV, especially during the news. Currently most of the major outlets, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, are using voice recognition to text systems but with a twist.

Instead of doing the translation directly, because of the vagaries of variation between human voices, a single human reader, whose voice the voice to text translator is keyed to, listens to whoever is delivering the news and repeats verbatim what they are saying to the voice to text translator.

Given the amount of "typos" seen on Closed Captioning during any show, it is clear that these systems still have a ways to go until they reach 100%. So for the time being we're not going to see AI voice recognition systems in use at fast-food restaurants because they lack the ability to literally "think on their feet." which humans, no matter how far away they are from the restaurant, can do, and for cheaply.
 
I own two fast food restaurants in Ohio. If you follow politics you know that Ohio passed a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $6.85 per hour. This wage became effective as of January 1 2007. This initiative resulted in an increase of over 30% in the cost of labor in my stores. We now have presidential candidates saying that if elected they believe employers should be required to provide health insurance for all employees. You can bet your last dollar that if these types of inflationary attacks continue on American businesses that more and more jobs will be shipped offshore. The ones that cannot be shipped offshore will be replaced with automation. The math already is starting to make sense for my industry. Lets assume that a restaurant has a monthly average labor cost of $20,000 If a restaurant could reduce its labor costs 50% by implementing automation it would have $10,000 to spend on automation technologies. This $10,000 per month will carry a debt service of close to a $900,000 on a ten-year note at 7%. That is a lot of equipment considering a new equipment package for our concept currently costs about $300,000 Automation is coming soon to a restaurant near you and from my perspective I can not wait.
 
I hope those innovations can help people. But I doubt it is possible. As for me I hate fast food restaurants because of harmful meals!
 
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