McDonald’s Makes Shocking Move…and You Can Blame the Minimum Wage
In a response to the current push for a $15.00 minimum wage, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is looking to further automate its customer service.
According to a report by BrandEating.com, McDonald’s is testing out a self-serve “McCafé” kiosk in downtown Chicago. The station is located in the restaurant but apart from the counter. The move allows customers to skip the line for their favorite cup of joe and frees workers from making each drink. (Source: “McDonald’s Tests Self-Serve McCafe Coffee Kiosk,” BrandEating.com, April 3, 2016.)
— Joe McDonald (@Joe_McDonald) April 5, 2016
The station includes a touchpad for ordering and paying. Drink options include coffees, lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos. Patrons will also be able to customize their order with various flavorings, types of milk, and amount of espresso.
The move is a blunt lesson in Econ 101 for labor activists. Liberals rely on emotional appeals such as “people deserve a living wage.” They refuse to acknowledge, however, that a higher minimum wage can be detrimental to the same people they claim to help.
Businesses lay off employees when labor costs increase and technology takes the place of human workers. Retailers also decide to not build in the first place. With minimum wage hikes sweeping across the country, restaurants are looking for new ways to replace labor with technology.
For low-wage workers, this could be just the beginning of the job losses.
McDonald’s has been making a big push into automation. Last year, the company started replacing cashiers with large touchscreen kiosks across the country. Machines, after all, will never unionize or make unreasonable demands, aside from being cleaned on occasion.
Last month, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced that it will be closing two California stores resulting in over 400 job losses. Industry analysts blame an increased minimum wage, which was recently raised to $15.00 per hour in the Bay area. (Source: “Oakland Minimum Wage Increase May Be Behind Walmart Closure,” ABC News, April 11, 2016.)
Fast food chain Carl’s Jr. is also investing in automation to deal with higher labor costs. The company has exploded the idea of an employee-free restaurant. The technology isn’t quite there yet, but automation has a lot of advantages over workers. (Source: “Fast-food CEO says he’s investing in machines because the government is making it difficult to afford employees,” Business Insider, March 16, 2016.)
“They’re [robots] always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider. (Source: Ibid.)
“This is the problem with Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and progressives who push very hard to raise the minimum wage,” said Puzder. “Does it really help if Sally makes $3.00 more an hour if Suzie has no job?” (Source: Ibid.)