A Chipotle restaurant in California will test a robot to make its chips to combat a minimum wage bill that Gavin Newsom (D-CA) recently signed.
Chipotle had previously tested the device at its technology innovation facility in anticipation of new minimum wage laws.
The Mexican restaurant calls the device “Chippy.” And Chipotle has great confidence that Chippy’s work can suffice.
“We are always exploring opportunities to enhance our employee and guest experience,” Chipotle Chief Technology Officer Curt Garner said. “Our goal is to drive efficiencies through collaborative robotics that will enable Chipotle’s crew members to focus on other tasks in the restaurant.”
As reported by the Daily Wire, Chipotle made the move following Newsom recently signing legislation to create the “Fast Food Council.” The legislation targets chains with 100 or more locations across the United States.
Per the bill, these joints must raise minimum wages up to $22 per hour — an increase of over 40% from the $15.50 per hour minimum wage that’ll go into effect in 2023.
So, Chipotle might not be the only popular restaurant in California turning to robots for assistance.
McDonald’s U.S. President Joe Erlinger has been vocal in his criticism of the bill, saying it has a uniquely negative impact on large chains.
“It imposes higher costs on one type of restaurant, while sparing another. That’s true even if those two restaurants have the same revenues and the same number of employees,” Erlinger wrote in a letter last week.
Sounds like robots might have to learn to make french fries too.
Chipotle, Yum Brands, and In-N-Out Burger have joined firms to raise money to lobby against the bill.
More important than the legal battle is, of course, the chips. Chipotle is of diminished value if its chips fail to remain in an elite echelon.
What happens if Chippy runs into tech issues? Would consumers have to settle for the restaurant’s below-average guacamole?
If Newsom plans to run for president in 2024, he can ill-afford to have ruining the chips at Chipotle on his resume. That’d rank right up there with ruining California during the Covid-19 pandemic.