Robots out of work as au­to­mated firms close

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE -

SAN FRAN­CISCO (AP) — It has been a bad week for robots in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area.

A Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pany that used robots to make its piz­zas closed this week, and three coffee shops in down­town San Fran­cisco that used robots as baris­tas also shut­tered.

Zume Pizza said it is cut­ting 172 jobs in Moun­tain View and elim­i­nat­ing another 80 jobs at its fa­cil­ity in San Fran­cisco. Zume Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Alex Gar­den made the an­nounce­ment in an email to em­ploy­ees Wed­nes­day, the Mer­cury

News in San Jose re­ported.

The Moun­tain View startup, which first be­gan de­liv­er­ing piz­zas in 2016, said it in­tends to fo­cus on its food pack­ag­ing and de­liv­ery sys­tems. Gar­den said for­mer em­ploy­ees will be able to ap­ply for the 100 new po­si­tions Zume ex­pects to have in its pack­ag­ing busi­ness.

In San Fran­cisco, Cafe X closed three of its coffee shops in the fi­nan­cial district. The startup’s founder, Henry Hu, said the down­town cafes helped de­velop the new­est ma­chine be­ing used at shops at San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port and Mineta San Jose In­ter­na­tional Air­port, the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle re­ported.

When Cafe X launched in 2017, its ro­botic baris­tas joined robots that made smooth­ies and ham­burg­ers or mixed and dis­pensed sal­ads and quinoa bowls.

Cafe X will con­tinue to have com­pe­ti­tion in the au­to­mated coffee mar­ket. Briggo Coffee Haus has a ro­botic barista that can make 100 drinks per hour at San Fran­cisco air­port’s Ter­mi­nal 3, the Chron­i­cle re­ported.

Ro­bot­ics have boomed in ware­houses to speed up pro­duc­tiv­ity and bring down costs and in­creas­ingly have moved into in­dus­tries like food ser­vice.

In the Bay Area, the pop­u­lar­ity of robots stems in part from the re­gion’s in­fat­u­a­tion with tech­nol­ogy, food and au­to­ma­tion.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this Aug. 29, 2016, file photo, a ro­bot places a pizza into an oven at Zume Pizza in Moun­tain View, Calif.

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