Wendy’s Rolling Out Self-Serve Kiosks Across the Nation
In a move that’s likely to make both liberals and conservatives angry, one fast-food chain is looking to raise revenue streams by cutting out employees all together. Wendy’s announced on Thursday that the company is rolling out self-serve kiosks at its store locations nationwide by the end of 2016, according to Investor’s Business Daily. The kiosks will largely serve to shave labor costs from the company, despite the company earlier this week saying profits exceeded Wall Street estimates.
For many, the news doesn’t come as a shock as the 21st Century has presented a host of new challenges to the labor market. Conservatives were quick to pounce on the news, blaming the rise in minimum wages across the country as the main factor. The conservative argument says that the company wouldn’t look to save labor costs if those costs didn’t go up. The conservative Washington Times, wrote their headline: “As minimum-wage hikes become mandatory, Wendy’s looks to expand self-service kiosks.” “With minimum-wage hikes comes job cuts. It’s Economics 101,” the Times added. But others point out that regardless of rising labor costs, the service sector has been looking toward automation for years, most notably in retail where self-serve kiosks have been more widely used over the past decade, despite no growth in the minimum wage prior to the recent push for a federally-mandated $15 minimum wage. Wendy’s even admitted labor costs had little to do with the kiosk implementation on its earnings call this week. Todd Penegor, president of Wendy’s, maintained they are “wary” of wage pressures but they have so far been “manageable,” Investor’s Business Daily reported. Historically speaking, there is no evidence that minimum wage increases cause job losses. In fact, the opposite is true. Influential billionaire investor Nick Hanauer points out in a piece with Business Insider: “Of the nearly two dozen federal minimum-wage hikes since 1938, total year-over-year employment actually increased 68% of the time. “In those industries most affected by the minimum wage, employment increases were even more common: 73% of the time in the retail sector, 82% in low-wage leisure and hospitality.” Not so much “Economics 101” after all.
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