News and Commentary

Economy In San Francisco So Bad, Even The Robots Are Losing Their Jobs
Customers watch as a robotic barista makes coffee drinks at Cafe X on February 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Cafe X is one of several food service companies that are using robots to serve food and beverages.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Some businesses have shut down in San Francisco, California due to the city’s economy. Specifically, several companies that employed robots have closed their doors.

Last week, Zume Pizza closed down in Mountain View and in San Francisco, cutting a total of 252 jobs. This also meant that the robots that were used to make the company’s pizzas would be out of work.

“With admiration and sadness, we are closing Zume Pizza today,” said Zume Chief Executive Alex Gardn in an email to employees. “Over the last four years this business has been our invention test bed and has been our inspiration for many of the growth businesses we have at Zume today.”

The job cuts are part of a company-wide restructuring that will result in a total loss of 360 jobs, The Mercury News reported. The company will now focus on food packaging and delivery systems, and will allow former employees to apply for 100 newly created positions within the restructured company.

In addition to Zume, three Café X coffee shops closed in the Bay Area. The shops used robot baristas, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Associated Press reported that “its robotic baristas joined robots that made smoothies and hamburgers or mixed and dispensed salads and quinoa bowls.” The outlet added that Café X “will continue to have competition in the automated coffee market,” as Briggo Coffee Haus, located in the San Francisco airport, also uses a robot to make 100 drinks per hour.

Robots are often used in place of humans because they are cheaper over the long run and can increase productivity (without needing breaks or benefits).

But San Francisco has become such a hostile place for businesses — not to mention residents and tourists – that even restaurants that use robots struggle. The Daily Wire reported in November that people were afraid to open businesses in the area due to a string of burglaries. One restaurant, the Pine Tar Grill, was burglarized three times in its first 16 months of business, costing the owner thousands of dollars. Numerous business owners told the Chronicle that opening a business in the Bay Area was difficult, with one owner saying “No one wants to open a restaurant in San Francisco.”

In addition to the crime, San Francisco is also dealing with a homelessness crisis and a literal poop crisis. The city is set to spend more than $70 million trying to clean up human feces from its streets. One neighborhood has even started taking up a collection to hire its own private poop patrol, The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti previously reported.

While residents are predictably outraged at the state of their city, they don’t appear to be doing anything to change the leadership that has allowed San Francisco to decay. In November, voters elected Chesa Boudin as their new District Attorney. Boudin appears to be more interested in going after police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers than criminals. He is also the son of two Weather Underground terrorists convicted for the murder of a New York policeman and security guard.

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