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Melanie Wong | Jul 18, 202004:54 PM    

" . . . Even before COVID-19 forced more than 5.9 million U.S. restaurant employees out of work in March and April, according to Restaurant Business magazine, California’s restaurant industry was feeling the squeeze of rising rents and minimum wages. If bistros were shifting toward counter service to cut down on servers, would diners be more open to the restaurant in a box?

'The vending machine is not going to replace a restaurant,' said Chris Albrecht, editor in chief of the Spoon, which tracks food tech advances. 'It’s meant to go in places where a restaurant isn’t feasible.' University dorms. Corporate offices. Airports whose concession stands shut down before the last flights leave. Albrecht even envisioned the appearance of vending machine pods, where customers could buy an array of fresh foods 24 hours a day. . . "

For a cold, heartless robot, Sally makes a decent salad

Sally the salad maker and her robotic friends — serving ramen, mini pizzas and more — are at work in the service industry.

www.latimes.com
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