With the governors of California and New York signing legislation this week boosting the minimum wage in both states to $15 per hour as soon as 2019, critics have been insisting that the future of the fast food industry and others staffed by minimum wage workers may be staffed by automated kiosks.
Last month, Andy Pudzer, the CEO of fast food giant Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. said he not only sees that as the future of his industry, but that he actually wants to try it.
He points to the California-based Eatsa chain as a prime example. Eatsa is a fully-automated restaurant with no cashiers. Visitors are greeted by a wall of iPads, where once they swipe their charge cards, they are presented with a menu of quinoa bowls to choose from. Once patrons make their choice, they are able to obtain their meal choice from one of a number of doors on a wall.
Bowls start at $6.95 and are available in Japanese, Mexican, Mediterranean or other styles. The bowls are made to order, which provides for freshness.
Pudzer told Business Insider his interest in an “employee-free restaurant” has been driven by the rise in minimum wages across the nation.
“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” Pudzer said. “This is the problem with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and progressives who push very hard to raise the minimum wage. Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?”
Other chains, including McDonald’s have tested kiosk technology in different markets with varying degrees of success. None of the major chains have developed plans to roll out technology of this sort any time soon.