Wendy’s has announced tentative plans to roll out self-service kiosks to 1,000 of its restaurants before the end of 2017.
Kiosks being readied for Wendy’s
The Columbus Dispatch reports about 16% of the company’s more than 6,000 stores will get the kiosks. Meanwhile, techno-phobes will be pleased to learn it will still be possible to order at the counter even in a store with a kiosk — at least for now.
‘With the demand we are seeing … we can absolutely see our way to having 1,000 or more restaurants live with kiosks by the end of the year,’ David Trimm, Wendy’s chief information officer, said during a recent investor conference.
Almost 17% of America eats Wendy’s in a given month, according to research from 24/7 Wall Street. That makes it the sixth most-visited restaurant chain (behind McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks, Taco Bell and Burger King).
Speaking of McDonald’s, there are big plans for kiosks at the Golden Arches too.
McDonald’s is on track to roll out self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering to all of its more than 14,000 stores across the country this year, according to a Bloomberg report.
The push for self-service kiosks in fast-food restaurants is no doubt in response to all the states that are raising the minimum wage for workers.
Of course, the introduction of technology into a low-wage business like fast food always comes with the fear of lost jobs. So let’s view the minimum wage debate through a strictly economic prism: What happens if you take a low-wage business and turn it into a high-wage business because of minimum wage mandates?
The operator of that business has to automate functions and then hire a smaller staff to make more money. Look at the European countries where there already are higher wage rates. Their fast food restaurants have automated everything from ordering to paying. Even the cooking in the kitchen is done by robotics in many cases.
So when you raise wage rates in a labor-intensive business, you ultimately reduce how much labor it takes to run that business because machines take the place of workers. That’s why they call economics ‘the dismal science,’ as Clark often says!