Well, you’re limiting the possible options to “they automated” or “they didn’t automate”.
Obviously, there is a third option: “They haven’t automated YET.”
Good example here is the burger making robots which are just starting to come into use. The gating issue restaurants have with implementing that technology is twofold. ONE problem is the large capital expenditure in a business that’s not used to large capital expenditures; and the SECOND problem is that you often have to build an entirely new fast food restaurant with a larger kitchen area to accomodate those monsters.
So, the question on the table is not “how many fast food restauranteurs have implemented robotics” but “how many would if they could?”
Because, over time, they will ALL have the opportunity to do so. The Trump tax plan just made the capital expenditure problem a lot easier by allowing full writeoffs of equipment in the calendar year instead of over longer periods, and all restauranteurs are *ordered* by their franchiser to do major facilities enhancements every decade or two. When that happens…….may as well expand the kitchen as well and stick the robot in.
So, it’s really just a matter of time before the calculation a small businessman will make to decide to implement robotics or not says “now’s the time”.
So, don’t let what you see today mislead you. The robotics are coming, and they’ll come first in the cities where low-skill labor costs are artificially pumped up by high minimum wage laws.