Want to see a possible consequence of a minimum-wage hike? Meet the Burger Robot. Excerpt:
I saw the future of work in a San Francisco garage two years ago. Or rather, I was in proximity to the future of work, but happened to be looking the other direction.
At the time, I was visiting a space startup building satellites behind a carport. But just behind them—a robot was cooking up burgers. The inventors of the burger device? Momentum Machines, and they’re serious about fast food productivity.
“Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient,” cofounder Alexandros Vardakostas has said. “It’s meant to completely obviate them.”
As a burger aficionado, I wonder if the automated Burger-O-Matic will produce adequate burgers while never producing some of the idiosyncrasies that can make a burger truly great.
Which brings me to Soldotna, Alaska, and the greatest burger in North America.
If, True Believers, you ever find yourselves wandering Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, go to the small town of Soldotna, on the Homer Highway between Sterling and Ninilchik. On the main drag you will find Hooligan’s Saloon, and in Hooligan’s Saloon you will find the best burger in North America. It’s not on the menu, and you have to be there on a day when the chief cook, Todd, is in residence. But on that happy day you can request a Todd’s Burger, a masterpiece of a grilled half-pound beef patty on a sourdough roll, with bacon, two kinds of cheese, and trimmings at your request.
Apparently the secret to the Todd’s Burger consists of various ingredients mixed into the ground beef prior to pattification. I have no idea what those ingredients might be, nor do I intend to try to find out – some mysteries should stay just that.