Jack in the Box CEO Leonard Comma says that if minimum wages go any higher, that his employees will be replaced by robots. It actually makes a lot of sense, although don’t tell the left. They haven’t figured out economics yet.
According to The Business Insider, Jack in the Box says it’s considering swapping some cashiers with self-ordering kiosks and other technology as minimum wages increase as a way to cut costs. “As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense,” Comma told the ICR Conference in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday.
As Grub Street noted, 18 states are seeing minimum wage increases in 2018, including Jack in the Box’s home state of California. There, the minimum wage was raised to $11 as part of a plan to raise it to $15 by 2023. Jack in the Box has experimented with automated checkout kiosks since 2009 and it has found that replacing the new machines increased efficiency and revenue, but Comma decided they were still too expensive to install at the time. But as costs come down on the machines, and the cost of human labor goes up, it will make sense to replace jobs with machines.
“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” then Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider in 2016. It’s economics 101, and we are getting to a point with technology that it’s simply a less expensive (and possibly even cleaner) alternative to human restaurant workers. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.”
Some prefer having a machine deliver their food anyway. At least you know it hasn’t been sneezed on. Some restaurant chains, such as Eatsa and CaliBurger have been working on automating the entire restaurant experience, while Wendy’s announced plans to install self-ordering kiosks within a year. McDonald’s is adding kiosks to 2,500 stores, and even though it pledged not to replace cashiers with kiosks, it may have to shatter that promise in order to stay competitive.
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