Checkers & Rally's Is Making A Big Change To Its Drive-Thrus

The Great Resignation is chugging along, and the food service industry is bearing the brunt of it. In November alone, nearly a million hospitality industry employees quit their jobs, according to Insider. Food service workers are not the only people quitting, and the pandemic isn't the only reason why. According to Fortune, the participation rate in the labor sector is at a 50-year low. Aside from wanting higher wages, people are opting out employment for a variety of reasons, including the desire for more flexibility, childcare issues, burnout, and what Insider nicknames "epiphany quitting."

In food service, specifically, according to NPR, workers have quit with no plans to return due to low pay, lack of benefits, inconsistent schedules, tough working conditions, and difficult customers. Nevertheless, people are still eating at restaurants, and those businesses have questions to resolve: Who's going to fry the doughnuts? Who's going to take people's orders? It looks like an increase in automation is going to be used to address labor shortages, and burger chain Checkers and Rally's is jumping on this bandwagon.

The robots are coming! The robots are coming!

According to Fortune, a key combination — increasing wages and a decreasing availability of workers — has prompted restaurants to invest in robots that can do human work. Robots in fast food are nothing new: McDonald's is testing voice-ordering artificial intelligence in Chicago locations, KFC is experimenting with chicken-cooking robots, and Domino's has ventured into self-driving delivery vehicles.

Insider reports that Checkers & Rally's is entering the automation game by using voice-ordering bots at the drive-thru, which accounts for up to 70% of fast food sales. The burger chain will implement the system in 267 of its nearly 900 restaurants throughout the year. The move is aimed at "streamlining" work for the restaurants' human workers, so they can focus on duties that are "more people-dependent." The voice-ordering system, created by restaurant tech company Presto, is nearly 100% accurate, and it also doesn't call in sick or have to suffer emotionally at the hands of Karens. Time will tell when automated drive-thru practices become an everyday occurrence.