Not too long ago, Pizza Hut posted on their twitter about a driverless pizza delivery solution. The idea is that an autonomous vehicle would drive to specific destination and deliver/make pizzas. One tweeter responded about how the solution may cause loss of jobs, but Pizza Hut rebutted by saying it may create jobs especially those in the service industry. Most of this is left for debate as there is no intention for these delivery vehicles to hit the market anytime soon. However, it brings a good example of where jobs are heading.
A popular argument is that with automation will come new jobs and those of equal quantity. However, with solutions like this how entry level will those jobs be? A pizza delivery driver is a low requirement job. Besides needing a license and knowing how to count money, there’s not much to the job itself. If we go with Pizza Hut’s response and assume that these new vehicles will create more jobs in the service industry, then they are most likely suggesting that these vehicles would act as mobile Pizza Hut restaurants. If you look at the concept image, the vehicle is particularly large and may offer enough space for multiple employees to server pizza from the vehicle itself. However, if we go with a more realistic concept, these vehicles will probably be used in a 50/50 scenario. For example, there would be mobile restaurant vehicles and then there will be fully autonomous vehicles specifically designed for delivery.
If we break it down even further from a business perspective, we wouldn’t want to oversaturate our market. Basically, I would want to use these vehicles in areas where large events commonly occur. For example, if we still go with Pizza Hut’s service industry suggestion, these vehicles would be perfect for community events in cities where we typically would see food trucks camped out. It brings your store to a place where no one would think about buying Pizza Hut in the first place. However, I wouldn’t use this solution in a suburban or country area where community events are far and few between and the majority of our customers drive and would opt more for delivery or store pickup. In this case, I would want to be using fully autonomous vehicle delivery so that I can save money on chains using drivers.
So, does this create more jobs? Yes and no. In one case I do see where Pizza Hut is going by saying these vehicles would open up drivers to the service industry. In more suburban/city areas where most of customers would be walking instead of driving, our drivers would be glorified cashiers/pizza makers in a mobile station. However, this is only in limited areas and for the most part, I wouldn’t see why a corporation would want to spend more money on positions that wouldn’t turn over a lot of profit. In other words, you don’t need a lot of mobile pizza stations, even in urban areas where they make sense. I can’t see more positions being created vs being lost in this scenario.
Only time will tell of course on whether Pizza Hut’s statement is correct. However, it’s important to note that more jobs will only be created if it is deemed profitable. These jobs to begin with aren’t high pay, so the return value in laying off delivery drivers isn’t a large profit saving for Pizza Hut. Instead, the profit making will be by fast delivery time and being conveniently located wherever the customer is. That’s something delivery drivers can’t do today.