There has been a “Fight for 15” movement the past few years to increase minimum wage. Making a counter move, McDonald’s unveils self-service kiosks.
McDonald’s Self-Service Kiosks
Former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi wrote about it at Forbes:
Thanks To ‘Fight For $15’ Minimum Wage, McDonald’s Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide
As the labor union-backed Fight for $15 begins yet another nationwide strike on November 29, I have a simple message for the protest organizers and the reporters covering them: I told you so.
It brings me no joy to write these words. The push for a $15 starter wage has negatively impacted the career prospects of employees who were just getting started in the workforce while extinguishing the businesses that employed them. I wish it were not so. But it’s important to document these consequences, lest policymakers elsewhere decide that the $15 movement is worth embracing.
Let’s start with automation. In 2013, when the Fight for $15 was still in its growth stage, I and others warned that union demands for a much higher minimum wage would force businesses with small profit margins to replace full-service employees with costly investments in self-service alternatives. At the time, labor groups accused business owners of crying wolf. It turns out the wolf was real.
Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.
The fight for $15 minimum wage has really stepped up recently. They argue that people should not work 40 hours and not make enough money to survive.
It will be interesting to see whether or not more companies take steps like this to combat the increased wages for employees. Those against the $15 minimum wage counter that this is a starting job, not a career. Since McDonald’s unveils self-service kiosks, it will be interesting to see if this starts a chain reaction with major corporations starting similar moves.