business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

We've had some discussion here on MNB lately about the use of automation to replace flesh-and-blood employees.  And the beat goes on.

The New York Times had a story the other day about how there is "a growing number of restaurant and hotel owners who are turning to robotics during this labor shortage. Robots don’t call in sick, don’t request raises and do jobs, like frying and cleaning, that workers don’t like.

"Indeed, many robotics companies, like Miso Robotics, Bear Robotics, Peanut Robotics, Knightscope, SoftBank Robotics and Makr Shakr, say they’ve seen huge spikes in inquiries for their robots since the pandemic hit."

And the Boston Globe has a piece this morning about Sweetgreen's $50 million acquisition of Spyce, the Boston restaurant startup that uses automation to prepare meals.  Sweetgreen's goal is "to integrate the Spyce’s technology in its restaurants so that it can 'serve its food with even better quality, consistency and efficiency'."

And yesterday, an MNB reader sent me a link to this video, which highlights a new technology that would replace that most customer-facing of all professions - the bartender.

The company says that it is "leading the self-pour revolution with a superior guest experience."

Maybe it'll work in some situations, like in theaters, ballparks and other, similar venues.

But I hope it doesn't get too much traction.  For me, the connection to a great bartender - I am, of course, talking about Morgan, the bartender at Etta's in Seattle, about whom I have frequently written here and in both my books - is one of the world's greatest and most Eye-Opening pleasures.