Jack In The Box CEO: Replacing Workers With Robots Makes Sense If Minimum Wage Goes Up
As minimum wage rises in California, Jack in the Box CEO Leonard Comma said Tuesday the company is considering replacing cashiers with robots.
"As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense," Comma said at an ICR Conference referring to new automated technology. The company has tested automated technology such as self-serve kiosks recently with some success resulting in higher average checks and improved efficiency.
Now, with minimum wage increasing around the country, the fast food company is reconsidering the use of kiosks and other automated technology in place of employees. It is already every to maintain a livable wage on fast food and the rise of robotic services threatens employees' existing jobs.
Minimum wage increases are coming in 18 states in 2018, including California, where the West Coast-based Jack In The Box is headquartered. California is on track to becoming the first state to implement a $15 minimum wage and Jack in the Box isn't the only fast food company considering automated services.
Wendy's also announced plans to install self-ordering kiosks inside of a year while McDonald's is installing 2,500 kiosks to over 2,500 stores despite pledging not to replace cashiers with kiosks.
Carl's Jr. and Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder said, "With government driving up the cost of labor, it's driving down the number of jobs. You're going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants."
The rise in robotic automation has long been predicted to overtake less complex jobs and in many industries has already done so. The manufacturing industry has been replacing human workers with robots for years already, especially automobile manufacturers.
One answer to robots replacing workers that have been highly debated is a Universal Basic Income that would provide a set amount of money to citizens to live off of. With robots taking jobs from actual humans, some say this is an inevitable part of the future.
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