Unfortunately for minimum wage activists, it looks like the “fight for $15” is about to become the “fight to not have our jobs automated out of existence.”
According to CNN Money, McDonald’s — the nation’s most iconic fast food chain — is about to roll out automated ordering kiosks across the country at all of its locations, presumably to cut down on labor costs.
In fact, McDonald’s also plans to introduce mobile ordering, which would allow customers to skip the kiosks entirely.
“Customers have access to information that gives them much more control over their lives,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said.
While McDonald’s is hailing this as an attempt to give customers “much more control over their lives,” the locations it will be rolling out first are telling. Five-hundred restaurants in Florida, New York and California have the automated machines, and the next targets are Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
New York, Florida, Seattle, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco have already put into effect legislation that will raise the minimum wage, some to eventually reach the $15 mark. This means that almost every locale seeing these kiosks has decided against elementary economics and is about to find out exactly how that works for them.
McDonald’s is far from the only chain doing this, and it’s certainly not going to be the last. In fact, in addition to killing jobs, these minimum wage laws may also benefit large corporations the most.
While these kiosks save money, few small businesses are going to be able to afford the initial investment in the kind of tech development that companies like McDonald’s or Wendy’s are able to. They’d likely have to either buy the equipment at a huge markup with exorbitant licensing fees for the software, or simply go out of business because they can’t compete with the lower labor costs large corporations can deliver thanks to economies of scale.
Way to go, “fight for $15.” You started out trying to turn minimum-wage burger-flipping jobs into a living wage. You may end up eliminating burger-flipping jobs entirely.
H/T The Daily Caller