Chicken tenders are breaded by robots.

We spent $30 million to create the world's most optimal breaded chicken experience.


June 10, 2024


Steve Berry

Chicken tenders are breaded by robots.

I was recently watching TV when an ad for a fried chicken joint caught my attention. The ad proudly boasted about their hand-breaded chicken tenders, claiming they were the best you could possibly get because they were all done by hand.

This got me thinking: In the age of robots, when will this change? Right now, we've got low-wage workers hand-breading each piece of chicken with, I imagine, varying regard for detail. But when will it be cost-effective enough for a robot to take over? When will a robot be substantially better?

Imagine the ad: "We spent $30 million to create the world's most optimal breaded chicken experience." Picture this—every piece of chicken tender gets scanned with 1800 different metrics, analyzing color, consistency, flavor, fat, and meat. This data gets fed into a state-of-the-art breading robot that beeps and boops before applying the breading with precision. Different chicken thicknesses and types require specific breading techniques, and the robot knows precisely how to handle each one, flipping it over and repeating the process to ensure perfection.

At what point does advertising shift to highlight robots being better than humans? Many brands have already embraced the mechanization of labor, but the real game-changer will be when this advanced robot technology becomes a selling point.

It reminds me of the Schlitz beer case study my wife always mentions. Back in the day, recycling was more involved—you returned your thick glass bottles to the factory, where they were steam-cleaned and reused. Everyone did it, but Schlitz beer advertised it, making their product seem superior. They took a standard process and turned it into a unique selling point.

So, when will advanced robots and AI in the mechanization of labor become more appealing to customers? It's only a matter of time. We're on the cusp of a future where precision and technology will redefine even the simplest tasks, and advertising will pivot to showcase the superiority of robots over humans in delivering the perfect product. The revolution is near, and it's bound to change everything.

Steve Berry
Principal, Thought Merchants

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