Carl's Jr. CEO Wants To Open Fully Automated Fast Food Restaurant - Is This The Answer To Minimum Wage Increase Demands?

Carl’s Jr. CEO Wants To Open Fully Automated Fast Food Restaurant – Is This The Answer To Minimum Wage Increase Demands?

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s CEO Andy Puzder wants to create a fully automated Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurant. Puzder recently visited another fully automated eatery and thinks he could be successful in setting up a simplified version of the hamburger chain with one huge exception, no employees. Puzder admits that the rising costs of employee wages are part of the reason he wants to open a restaurant manned by robots.

“I want to try it,” CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider. “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.”

Puzder said that a restaurant without employees is something he has envisioned and would like to create but only if there is time. Right now, Hardee’s restaurant is working on their expansion into northeastern United States.

The Carl’s Jr. CEO claims that fast food restaurants aren’t the only business considering the challenges of automation. “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.”

Puzder has been advocating to keep the minimum wage just the way it is. The outspoken CEO has even penned two articles for The Wall Street Journal that talk about how presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are driving up the cost of everything with their promises to raise the minimum wage. In return, Puzder claims that the wage increases are causing businesses to cut back on the number of people they hire, and to start looking at ways to get the job done with machines and robots instead of humans.

Part of the problem that may arise if everything becomes automated would have to do with customer comfort. There is still a generation that doesn’t trust new technologies and would have a hard time using a fully automated ordering system. On the other hand, Puzder thinks that millennials will prefer automated restaurants. Ironically, the same group that prefers not to talk to people are the same ones that would hurt the most if minimum wage jobs end up obsolete because machines can do the work cheaper and more efficiently.

“Millennials like not seeing people,” he says. “I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks… and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”

Is a fully-automated Carl’s Jr. in our future? Puzder is currently only talking about a kiosk to dispense a small selection of items to the general public. That doesn’t mean that automation isn’t coming and that the workforce will be cut down by machines that can handle more work and complete it more efficiently. As fast food workers continue to demand higher wages, many business owners and managers are looking for ways to cut costs and replace workers with machines instead.

There have been many images of fast food ordering systems that would completely eliminate the customer service aspect of the convenience dining experience, leaving just enough staff to cook food and clean up. With just a few more technological advances, the need for human involvement in the fast food business really might end up being a thing of the past.

[Griffin5 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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