Fast-Food CEO Unveils Plans for Fully Automated Restaurant in Response to Calls for Minimum Wage Hike

minimum wage
The Associated Press

The CEO of restaurant chain Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s has revealed his plans to replace employees with fully automated machines as a means to cut the cost of rising minimum wages.

Inspired by a trip to the fully automated restaurant Eatsa, CEO Andy Pudzer told Business Insider that he “wants to try it.”

“We could have a restaurant that’s focused on all-natural products and is much like an Eatsa, where you order on a kiosk, you pay with a credit or debit card, your order pops up, and you never see a person,” he said.

Pudzer’s interest in an employee-free restaurant is a result of rising minimum wages throughout the US.

“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” he says. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants as well.”

Pudzer has openly criticised the rising of the minimum wage, having written two op-eds for The Wall Street Journal on how a higher minimum wage will lead to fewer employment opportunities.

“This is the problem with Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and progressives who push very hard to raise the minimum wage,” says Pudzer. “Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?”

“If you’re making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive — this is not rocket science,” he said.

“They’re 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,” he added.

The company’s plans come after news that Domino’s is now trialling a robotic pizza delivery service in New Zealand.

McDonald’s has also introduced self serve kiosks in the majority of its stores, although they have said that they will not be reducing the size of their workforce, instead moving employees away from the kiosks and into the kitchen in order to speed up customer service.

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