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Jon Taffer warns staff shortages at restaurants could be solved with AI and robots


Restaurants are expected to hit record numbers this summer, and, as a result, “Bar Rescue”‘s Jon Taffer is sounding the alarm on the worker shortage – a problem that is being solved with artificial intelligence and robots.

“Since April, we’ve hired over 900,000 employees. We need a lot more, but we’re forecasting record travel this summer. Record hotel occupancy. Restaurants are booming, but we’re challenged because we need people to fulfill all the business that we have now,” the television star explained to host Stuart Varney.

During his Monday appearance on “Varney & Co.,” Taffer attended the National Restaurant Association Convention, which was heavily centered around robotics and automation technology. 

“In my restaurant business, we’re using it more in the back of the house for purchasing and pricing and things like that. Here I’m standing in a SkyTab booth now. This is all new transactional technologies that connects third parties like DoorDash and Uber Eats into the P.O.S. system,” Taffer began.

“Frequency programs, credit card programs, all connected into one system now. And then robotics are huge. Wendy’s is about to launch a chat box program in Europe with automated ordering. There are the restaurateurs, they’re going crazy already.”


Taffer (C) is seen at the ribbon cutting ceremony for his restaurant “Taffer’s Tavern” on April 12, 2021 in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Getty Images

A robot waiter carries empty trays after delivering an order to patrons at the "White Fox" restaurant in the eastern part (left bank of the Tigris river) of Iraq's northern city of Mosul on November 17, 2021.
A robot waiter carries empty trays after delivering an order to patrons at the “White Fox” restaurant in the eastern part (left bank of the Tigris river) of Iraq’s northern city of Mosul on Nov. 17, 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

The fast-food chain Wendy’s, as Taffer noted, announced a new partnership with Pipedream, a company that developed an underground autonomous robot system that can be used to deliver digital food orders from the kitchen to parking spaces within seconds.

The goal, Wendy’s said in a press release, is to provide faster and more convenient pick-up experiences.

Wendy’s will be the first quick-service restaurant to pilot Pipedream’s technology, but likely not the last.

According to Varney, artificial intelligence has been largely perceived as a “negative threat” to humanity.

Given the worker shortage, Taffer sees A.I. as a game-changer that will undoubtedly enhance profitability. 

“Not only that, we can’t find the employees [to] do it, so we have to solve the problem. If we can’t solve it with employees, then we’re going to go to automation,” Taffer concluded.



This story originally appeared on NYPost

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