You can count Wendy’s as the next fast-food chain fighting against the Fight for $15 crowd by welcoming automation with open arms.
Since wage inflation rose five percent last year, and wage inflation could top four percent again this year, the home of the square patties noted that it has figured out how to eliminate 31 hours of labor each week from its stores, adding that it has used technology to improve efficiency and production.
Bob Wright, Wendy’s chief operating officer, announced to investors last week that the company plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 16 percent of its locations across the United States, reports the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Wendy’s CIO David Trimm explained that the new self-serve kiosks will reduce labor costs and appeal to younger customers. Also, Trim noted, the automated kiosks will help avoid long lines at the busiest times and allocate manpower to the kitchen.
The average store will receive three kiosks for $15,000. It is estimated that the machines will be paid back within two years due to labor savings and increased sales.
“There is a huge amount of pull from (franchisees) in order to get them. 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,” Trimm said.
For those who do not feel comfortable ordering from the kiosk, you still have the option of ordering at the counter.
Companies are realizing that they can save a ton of money by converting to automation. They don’t have to pay wages, benefits and payroll taxes by using machines. This is the unintended consequence of the unions and the workers who are constantly on strike. Of course, companies would undoubtedly transition to robots, but the pace of which has accelerated is only going on because of the protests and rising minimum wage.
It should be noted, however, that automation isn’t a relatively new phenomenon. Automation has been going on since the invention of the wheel.
Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Wendy’s…who’s next?