First Wendy’s, now McDonald’s: Yet another chain has made a major move toward self-service kiosks in its stores in response to higher labor costs.
According to USA Today, a major strategy change McDonald’s unveiled to investors Wednesday included a promise to “allow customers to order and pay for sandwiches, fries and other purchases at kiosks, rather than a counter, and then have the food delivered to their tables.”
About 2,500 stores will have the kiosks by the end of the year, with all 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the United States receiving the upgrades by the year 2020.
The kiosks were announced as part of a larger change in which the chain promised better products and more innovation in response to slowed growth and a negative perception of its brand.
However, it was impossible not to notice that McDonald’s was the second major fast food chain in a week to announce a major move to kiosks in the wake of ongoing minimum wage hikes around the country.
“Some of our best customers just aren’t visiting as much as they used to — and we know why,’’ said Lucy Brady, McDonald’s senior vice president for corporate strategy and business development. “Our historical advantages of quality, convenience and value didn’t keep pace.”
Ah yes, value. See, given the artificially inflated labor costs bequeathed upon the average burger-flipper across this fruited plain by liberal politicians, chains are unable to offer customers the value they want. So, they do the obvious thing — they eliminate as much of the labor cost as possible.
Wendy’s, which announced a similar move on Monday, didn’t exactly couch its intentions in those terms, or at all. The company was happy to admit, according to The Columbus Dispatch, that three kiosks, installed in a restaurant location for $15,000, would pay for themselves within two years.
“They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it,” Darren Tristano, vice president of the food service consulting firm Technomic, said of Wendy’s decision. “They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk.”
Wall Street agreed. Both Wendy’s and McDonald’s saw their stock rise after they made the announcement that they were moving to self-service kiosks. Yes, apparently investors know something more about economics than the Bernie bros do. Who would have ever thought it (except everybody)?
So, keep it up, Fight for 15. You’re only fighting for your own obsolescence.
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