Five Disturbing New Pieces of Food Service Technology

The machines are rising again, and the food service industry is making it happen. Technological advances aren't always a bad thing, and lately there have been some pretty effin' cool mechanical grub-stuffers out there, like the Burrito Box vending machine in West Hollywood (we need this badly!) and the Frobot in Washington D.C. that dispenses fresh frozen yogurt (we really need this!). But on the flip side, there are a few robotic monstrosities trolling around that should scare the dangles off of the human population.

Here's a list of five disturbing new pieces of food service technology. These new bots will probably scare the hell out of Baskin-Robbins employees, Pizza Hut, everyone with foodie friends on Facebook, and minimum wage workers.

See also: Red Robin's Burger Works: Rise of the machine

5. The cake-decorating bot.

Baskin-Robbins cake decorators should be on high alert for Unifiller Systems' Deco-Bot: a high-tech robotic cake-decorating machine that can automatically frost cakes as well as create swirls, rosettes, writing, and yes, those pain-in-the-ass buttercream roses. In true "they-took-our-jobs!" style, this bakery equipment could eliminate carpal tunnel and arthritis in cake decorators on the job -- by replacing frosting-bag wielding workers with cold stainless steel. Sadly, eradicating actual jobs will be the price we all will pay to have perfectly symmetrical icing roses on our birthday cakes.

The tiny buttercream carrots on carrot cakes, however, look just as dismal being squirted out of the machine as they do when people pipe them by hand, proving that some things cannot be improved upon with technology.

4. The ninety-second pizza vending machine.

It's a pizza vending machine, because of course it is. Box Brands out of L.A., makers of the beloved Burrito Box, is fixing to test its new pie-box tech in the next few months, and in an enthusiastic bid to crush Pizza Hut restaurants everywhere, these vending bots will flash-cook a frozen pizza and pop it out in about a minute and a half. A company rep told Business Insider that these machines will be like ATMs for food, or "AFFMs," automatic fast-food machines.

Pizza Hut, this is an opportune time for you to finally get around to creating the voice-activated, pizza-puck hydrator from Back to the Future II.

3. The USB-powered desktop microwave.

There is nothing more pathetic, telling and sad-sack than seeing your office mates parked at their desks, scooping semi-lukewarm globs of microwave meals in their mouths -- thus encapsulating everything that's wrong with our workaholic culture. Helping to make sure cubicle junkies stay that way forever is British designer Steve Gates, who recently invented the Brainwave USB-powered desktop microwave, just big enough to house a single frozen dinner. This depressing, mechanical commentary on the American dream is still in its conception phase, but it will absolutely end up in offices everywhere, because there is no god.

I will almost definitely buy one.

For more disturbing food-bots, read on...

2. The #dinnercam.

Instagrammers of the world, unite in your infamy, because your endless photos of every restaurant meal you ever eat are about to be even more fabulous. South Africa's MWEB WiFi network just became enemy number one of restaurant chefs everywhere by creating the #dinnercam device: a small, transportable food-photography studio that lets foodie photo fanatics do what they do best -- annoy the living fuck out of their friends with semi-pro shotties of every chicken wing and slice of cheesecake. At the moment, the #dinnercam is only available in South Africa but the chance of it making its way here seems pretty high.

The only real question about this is not why does it exist, but how it took people so long to make it, because humans really love irritating their Facebook friends.

1. The burger bot.

Fast-food workers are about to get shafted again, because amid the controversy of proposed minimum wage hikes, Momentum Machines has produced a robotic machine capable of producing 360 complete burgers an hour, including toppings and condiments, and the company admits that putting human employees out of jobs is exactly what their burger-bot is programmed to do. "Our device isn't meant to make employees more efficient," Momentum co-founder Alexandros Vardakostas told XConomy in 2012. "It's meant to completely obviate them."

In case you can't get to a thesaurus fast enough, obviate means "get 'em gone," and this burger-flipping machine should just get a cut-through-the-bullshit name: The Unemploymentator.

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz