Even with 16 billion unique arms in the world (give or take a handful), companies are still struggling to find enough willing hands to froth coffees and flip burgers. 🍔 According to Bloomberg, employment at food services and drinking places is down more than 4% on pre-pandemic levels, while spending is up 7%.
That’s driven companies to adapt, swapping human arms for more of the robotic kind. 🦾 Robot sales in North America have hit record highs for three-straight quarters, putting 2022 on track for a record robot run. Costa Coffee, owned by Coca-Cola (KO), operates around 50 BaristaBot kiosks across the US that can produce 100 cups of coffee in an hour - the equivalent of at least one highly caffeinated barista. ’Though who will awkwardly misspell our names now?? ☕
And while hapless hotdog robots probably aren’t about to become our robot-overlords anytime soon, their brethren might soon seize control of the deep fryer. Miso Robotics has partnered with fast food restaurants, Chipotle (CMG) and Jack in the Box (JACK), with their flippin’ awesome deep frying arm, called Flippy2. It also has a bro-bot called Wingy (seriously, did they let the internet name them?), specially designed for flipping chicken wings. 🍗
Amazon (AMZN) has an entire robotics department, and their latest robot, Sparrow, can recognise and handle millions of items of different shapes and sizes. Robots are even putting satellites within arm’s reach. Maxar Technologies (MAXR) produces satellite-saving service arms and can help refuel and relocate satellites in-orbit. 🛰️
Perhaps surprisingly, the demand for robotics hasn’t done much for robotic themed ETFs in 2022. The Robo Global Robotics & Automation ETF (ROBO) is down 32% this year, slightly more than the 29% fall in the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (ONEQ). 🤖