The wage-earner robot apocalypse arrives: Wendy’s to install 1,000 fast food kiosks to replace humans

Saturday, March 4, 2017
By Paul Martin

by: Robert Jonathan
Saturday, March 04, 2017

n the fight for $15 championed by social justice activists, the minimum wage worker may actually wind up getting pummeled, unfortunately.

Fast-food chain Wendy’s has announced that 16 percent of its nationwide locations will install self-service ordering kiosks by the end 2017. This translates to about 1,000 stores which may be able to reduce headcount at the same time the government-imposed hourly minimum wage hikes continue to go into effect. Wendy’s has already tested the technology at some central Ohio outlets.

Wendy’s isn’t the only franchise chain that is gravitating toward automation. Panera and McDonald’s, among others, are going in that direction, suggesting that a minimum wage increase will ultimately be self-defeating for those that it is supposed to benefit.

On the other hand, Panera had to increase kitchen staff at some of its restaurants because of the uptick of orders moving through self-service kioks, the Los Angeles Times detailed.

According to Wendy’s Chief Information Officer David Trimm, “The kiosks accomplish two purposes: They give younger customers an ordering experience that they prefer, and they reduce labor costs. A typical store would get three kiosks for about $15,000.” Trimm estimated the payback on those machines would be less than two years, thanks to labor savings and increased sales. “Customers still could order at the counter,” The Columbus Dispatch explained, while also noting that smartphone mobile ordering is likely the end game.

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