Wendy’s (WEN) said that self-service ordering kiosks will be made available across its 6,000-plus restaurants in the second half of the year as minimum wage hikes and a tight labor market push up wages.
It will be up to franchisees whether to deploy the labor-saving technology, but Wendy’s President Todd Penegor did note that some franchise locations have been raising prices to offset wage hikes.
McDonald’s (MCD) has been testing self-service kiosks. But Wendy’s, which has been vocal about embracing labor-saving technology, is launching the biggest potential expansion.
Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10% of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5% to 6%, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage “to access good labor.”
A no-brainer. It was already technologically feasible; it was just waiting for impetus to pull the trigger.
Sheetz, a convenience-store/deli chain out of Pittsburgh and through Pennsylvania and Ohio, has had these self-serve kiosks for fifteen years. You walk in, go to a touch-screen terminal, and construct your sandwich with pictographs. Add what you want; the quantity you want; double-check your order and the ticket is printed up. As Sheetz does it, you take the ticket to the cashier while the minimum-wage stooge in the back room makes your sandwich and calls your number. You seldom see him; he puts it on a counter rack with his copy of the same ticket.
Now, with machines that readily accept currency; and with credit-card readers, the cashier can be dispensed with. Wendy’s could have a machine take payment before sending the order back - and ONE lucky slob making $15 an hour could do nothing but make those sandwiches. NOTHING BUT; and he’d be alone.
I did my time in a fast-food joint, when I was a kid. HARD work - but what made it palatable was the companionship; the gentle grab-assing; the innocent flirting; the gossipping. That will all be gone; there will be nothing for these poor sods to do but JUST WORK…Fast. Alone.
I don’t much care since I don’t eat there often. BUT…robots would be less frustrating than the potheads who allegedly work there now, for the most part.
True story: I was in Havre, Montana a week ago…wanted breakfast. Fast. Why not Mickey Dee’s? I soon found out why not. My order: A Sausage McMuffin and a sausage biscuit off the dollar menu. Seems simple, right? The Sausage McMuffin, which was a dollar in my memory, is now close to four dollars. So, two of them was out of the question.
Just those two. I had coffee in a thermos already. NOTHING else.
This space case rang it up wrong; and when I challenged her on it, she was fumbling the order so badly that after three tries, I told her to go back to her bong and I wouldn’t bother her no more. I’m not kidding - and FWIW, she was white.
That is not the first time that’s happened. These kids, with their brain-damage from pot use, from their lack of attention spans from their stupid “smart” phones…are just UNEMPLOYABLE
The cost of labor has always been one of the driving forces to upgrade with technology. Sadly that upgrade is almost always aimed at the low skilled workers & that’s a shame. I started out making 75 cents working on a laundry truck as a kid. That job taught me something about work. After a while I got bored & got one of the baggers (put bags on clothes) to teach me how to do that during down time. I got promoted (they didn’t have a replacement) when one of the baggers was out for 3 weeks. Again it was a learning experience & if you can apply what you learn you will generally do well in life. (my opinion).
So as those “learning” jobs go away people will be forced to start out in a “real” job with no experience actually working. My guess is that there’s going to be a lot higher percent of failures in our work force because of it. Maybe that’s just going to happen when you pay people a set amount rather than basing the pay amount on the job they do. I know that I wouldn’t have gotten that first laundry job if the company would have been required to pay more. And that means that I wouldn’t have gotten a chance at the bagging job where I was paid adult wages. Kind of a domino effect.
Oh I guess that I should have added that a few years back I was reading about a company that had developed a machine that could make hamburgers from start to finish. It was very expensive of course because there wasn’t a mass market for such a machine. As always they will get cheaper as the company sells more of them. More jobs going away?
Oh & in case you haven’t heard Hastings Books/Music is going out of business. Now I’m sure that they at least started having problems because you can watch movies from the web & read from the web. But I do wonder if a higher minimum wage was the cherry on top that put them out of business.
Wow harsh. We were all young once trying to do our jobs, let’s not forget perfection isn’t instant. I recall being a young kid in grade 9 doing a job at a store that sold lights, chandeliers and such. I would unpack the inventory, put fixtures up for the walk in show room. Like most that age, when friends would come by the mall I would rush my work and hope to get off early. Couple that with being young and unsure of myself and you get what you pay for, the boss could see it. I worked hard, was never late, did my job, but really my mind just wasn’t excited by the work and anytime I had a chance to get off early I would take it. Young person making minimum wage or less if part-time, trying to get their feet wet and become a disciplined worker, and most likely don’t care too much as it’s not a career goal.
A few months ago at MCD’s I placed an order, lunch time came at work and I realized too late that they forgot my second burger. I was hungry as could be, cursed quietly under my breath and sucked it up. C’est la vie. My fault for not checking my order before I left, I certainly can’t expect some high school students to do the work in a manner a focused person would who required the income. I wasn’t happy at the moment, but I chalked it up to a lesson.
Final note; not a knock just a point to make, you can’t always assume a young person is a stoner. Often they are unsure of themselves or haven’t been in their job long. I try and give the benefit of the doubt. I have experienced it far worse with a “know it all” employee who assumes they know the answer and ends up costing me alot more time and sometimes headache. Of course, these same type never accept responsibility, which to me is far worse than someone messing up and simply saying “sorry”. Every generation has their distractions, it’s only going to get worse with iphones and what have you.
With all of this automation, soon we will be robots.
Yes, a person is new at the job at some point…but being unable to focus on a SIMPLE order? If I go to a hamburger joint and order a hamburger and fries, how hard is that to remember?
Well, this hamburger joint calls their morning egg sandwich “McMuffins.” Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Sausage Biscuit.
No matter how new you are, if you’re of average intelligence you can remember that, even as you’re puzzling over the keyboard - which IIRC uses PICTURES.
Having worked with potheads, both on the job when I was a kid, and later as a welfare caseworker…I can spot them. It’s possible she was brain-damaged, but I doubt that - she’d have gotten SSI if there was a non-drug medical reason for her spaceyness.
Yes, if I go to an independent burger joint I will expect a different level of service and even quality of food. The biggest difference? The guy running the burger joint cares if you come back or not, he cares about his reputation and customer service. A high school kid at McDonalds? If you never came back again and told her this she wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep. You and I both know this difference.
I worked for a guy years ago who’s brother also ran a business. He said something that stuck with me, “you pay for a donkey you get a donkey”. Live by the Golden Rule, that’s all. You just have to deal with them for the 30 seconds (or more in this case), get your order and you’re on to the next activity of the day. I understand the point you’re making, I’m just saying that it’s not worth the space in our brain to worry about this type of incompetence when we know why it exists.
Quite honestly, I give these people credit for working their tails off for low wages, at least they are earning their wages, even if barely in some cases…
I once stopped in the drive-through window at a Wendy’s in Bossier City, Louisiana, and ordered a baked potato and a spicy chicken sandwich. I paid for it, went to the next window and picked up my order without looking in the sack. I then drove to my apartment, went inside and opened the sack to find a baked potato and a large order of French fries!!! I called the number on the outside of the sack and got a robocall answer asking me to leave a message. I told them (the franchise owner in New Orleans) that I was sick and tired of being ripped off by some minimum-wage doofus and that I would never be back again. I left my name and address (as requested) and later got a form letter offering me a “free” meal. I threw it in the trash.
There used to be a place I went to for lunch when I worked for the state. Year after year it got worse and the final straw was when I went in and saw one of the people in back come up to the counter and say “What do the F do you want”. Now he was not talking to me. The manager got arrested later for robbing the place. When she had first come on as manager she brought a few bad apples with her and apparently she was the same. They replaced this manager with another but by then the business was shot.
While I am on the subject several times in the past I have encountered racism from blacks with attitudes working at a place. These places do not survive long.
Borders Books went out of business several years ago because they didn’t adjust their business model to the increasingly online and ebook marketplace. Barnes & Noble reduced its number of “brick and mortar” stores several years ago to try to re-balance their operations (their Nook readers and tablets had given them a foothold in the ebook marketplace). I’m sure government’s large minimum wage increases are going to be extra hard on struggling businesses.
Technology and machinery doesn’t so much target the people in entry-level jobs as simpler (easier to mechanize) tasks.
The bottom line is that as government-imposed minimum wage rates make the cost of minimum wage jobs higher than the value a business receives from those jobs, choices are forced on businesses. One way or another - e.g. mechanization, moving out of the area, going out of business - the number of entry-level jobs will plummet, and less skilled people (e.g. the poorly educated and youth) are the ones who will suffer. Those less skilled people will find fewer jobs are available, and will be unable to gain the skills and employment record necessary for companies with more skilled jobs to take the risk of hiring them.
I bought a couple of Nooks for the wife and she gave one to a daughter. Now she is an avid reader and reads constantly. She has over a thousand or so ebooks on her nook and since she owns both, the daughter’s nook has them as well. There is nothing like a rousing story about love between vampires, werewolves, and so on.