Wendy’s to Introduce More Automation to Dodge Paying Minimum Wage

US fast food chain Wendy’s has admitted that, rather than maintain its current staffing levels at the new minimum wage rate, it will seek to replace staff with self-ordering kiosks and back-of-house automated systems, and cover wage hikes of existing staff by raising its prices.

During a sales call, Wendy’s Chief Financial Officer Todd Penegor admitted that the company will “continue to look at initiatives and how we work to offset any impacts of future wage inflation through technology initiatives, whether that’s customer self-order kiosks, whether that’s automating more in the back of the house in the restaurant. And you’ll see a lot more coming on that front later this year from us.”

CEO Emil Brolick added that “our franchisees will likely look at the opportunity to reduce overall staff, look at the opportunity to certainly reduce hours and any other cost reduction opportunities, not just price. You know there are some people out there who naively say that these wages can simply be passed along in terms of price increases. I don’t think that the average franchisee believes that.”

Last week, California and New York became the first states to agree to a $15/hr minimum wage rise by 2022, with campaigners fighting to have the policy adopted across the United States.

One Third of UK Jobs to Become Automated

In this post-industrial age, the world’s labour market has shifted from machinery making the jobs of people easier and more efficient to automated technology – computerised systems and robotics – that remove the need for people entirely. Professional service firm Deloitte predict that one third of all jobs in the United Kingdom could become automated within twenty years.

Deloitte’s research was carried out in conjunction with Carl Benedikt Frey, of the Oxford Martin School, and Michael A Osborne, of the Department of Engineering Science, at the University of Oxford. Frey and Osborne’s earlier study, back in 2013, estimated that close to 50% of US jobs are at risk of automation.

The study noted a disturbing link between low-paid jobs and high risk of automation, suggesting that poor destined to suffer the most from the rise of technology. The amount of UK jobs deemed low or no risk is 40%, rising to 51% in the London area. Frey calls cities such as London, “incubators for new ideas and products,” saying that, “With the right policies, London can be at the front-line in developing the next generation of digital technologies.”

Source: Techcrunch