Goodbye, $15/hr; hello Zume pizza

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | September 14th, 2016

Readability

Goodbye, $15/hr; hello Zume pizza

The move­ment to a nation­wide $15 hourly min­i­mum wage rolls right along, no mat­ter what real­ity commands.

A lot of it has to do with orga­nized labor, where many salary agree­ments are pegged to the min­i­mum wage. Some of it has to do with “social jus­tice”, where utopian views cloud real­ity, such as this (empha­sis added):

it might take time for employ­ers of many low-​skill work­ers to learn how to econ­o­mize on their labor costs, but they will over time, since the incen­tives to do so are much larger – and that would be bad news for the very low-​skill work­ers the higher min­i­mum wage is designed to help. For instance, fast-​food work­ers might be more eas­ily replaced by robots.

Hello, Marta

In the back kitchen of Moun­tain View’s newest pizze­ria, Marta works tire­lessly, spread­ing mari­nara sauce on uncooked pies. She doesn’t com­plain, takes no breaks, and has never needed a sick day. She works for free.

Marta also does not require man­dated paid leave, pay­roll tax paper­work, and you don’t need to worry about check­ing her credit rat­ing or her crim­i­nal record, or spend money on mar­i­juana or drug screening.

Why?

Marta is one of two robots work­ing at Zume Pizza, a secre­tive food deliv­ery startup try­ing to make a more prof­itable pizza through machines.

Not only that, Marta can pro­duce 100% con­sis­tent qual­ity con­trol, which includes “an arti­sanal touch,”

We cre­ated her to spread your sauce per­fectly, but not too per­fectly, so the pizza still looks like an arti­san prod­uct,” Gar­den said.

And to appeal to peo­ple like me, who would love a taco truck on Mon­day, a gyro truck on Tues­day, and a pas­trami on rye truck on Wednes­day (empha­sis added),

In August, Zume wants to start cook­ing its piz­zas in the startup’s patented deliv­ery trucks. Each truck has 56 ovens that can be turned on and off remotely. Gar­den can barely con­tain his excite­ment for what comes next: “The robots will load all these indi­vid­ual ovens with dif­fer­ent menu items. Then the truck will cir­cle the neigh­bor­hood. At pre­cisely 3 min­utes and 15 sec­onds before arriv­ing at the customer’s loca­tion, the cloud com­mands the oven to turn on and – ” Gar­den made the sym­bol of a large explo­sion ema­nat­ing from his brain– “BOOM, the cus­tomer gets a fresh, out-​the-​oven pizza deliv­ered to their door.”

Zume’s fresh Lucky Bueno pizza, “a spicy pie with roasted gar­lic, Cal­abrian chili and sop­pres­sata”, deliv­ered to your house for $18. Count me in!

There’s a basic eco­nom­ics les­son behind all of this.

The thing is, unless you have hands-​on expe­ri­ence in the real busi­ness world, odds are, the les­son is lost on you.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news, and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

The movement to a nationwide $15 hourly minimum wage rolls right along, no matter what reality commands.

A lot of it has to do with organized labor, where many salary agreements are pegged to the minimum wage. Some of it has to do with “social justice”, where utopian views cloud reality, such as this (emphasis added):

it might take time for employers of many low-skill workers to learn how to economize on their labor costs, but they will over time, since the incentives to do so are much larger – and that would be bad news for the very low-skill workers the higher minimum wage is designed to help. For instance, fast-food workers might be more easily replaced by robots.

Hello, Marta

In the back kitchen of Mountain View’s newest pizzeria, Marta works tirelessly, spreading marinara sauce on uncooked pies. She doesn’t complain, takes no breaks, and has never needed a sick day. She works for free.

Marta also does not require mandated paid leave, payroll tax paperwork, and you don’t need to worry about checking her credit rating or her criminal record, or spend money on marijuana or drug screening.

Why?

Marta is one of two robots working at Zume Pizza, a secretive food delivery startup trying to make a more profitable pizza through machines.

Not only that, Marta can produce 100% consistent quality control, which includes “an artisanal touch,”

“We created her to spread your sauce perfectly, but not too perfectly, so the pizza still looks like an artisan product,” Garden said.

And to appeal to people like me, who would love a taco truck on Monday, a gyro truck on Tuesday, and a pastrami on rye truck on Wednesday (emphasis added),

In August, Zume wants to start cooking its pizzas in the startup’s patented delivery trucks. Each truck has 56 ovens that can be turned on and off remotely. Garden can barely contain his excitement for what comes next: “The robots will load all these individual ovens with different menu items. Then the truck will circle the neighborhood. At precisely 3 minutes and 15 seconds before arriving at the customer’s location, the cloud commands the oven to turn on and–” Garden made the symbol of a large explosion emanating from his brain– “BOOM, the customer gets a fresh, out-the-oven pizza delivered to their door.”

Zume’s fresh Lucky Bueno pizza, “a spicy pie with roasted garlic, Calabrian chili and soppressata”, delivered to your house for $18. Count me in!

There’s a basic economics lesson behind all of this.

The thing is, unless you have hands-on experience in the real business world, odds are, the lesson is lost on you.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

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