As 'fight for 15' campaign goes on, McDonald's looks to automate
Not a surprise, this. And if the burger flippers ever get their wish of a $15 an hour wage, the only people earning it will be employed to maintain the machines that will replace most of the workers - a skill set far beyond the ability of most fast food workers.
Conservatives have long warned that raising the minimum wage would harm businesses, cost low-skilled workers jobs and lead to automation to replace many of them. Unions and progressives, on the other hand, swore fast food chains could easily afford the inflated labor cost without much of a price increase.
Now comes word that McDonalds’, the largest player in the fast food industry, revenues are down significantly. A 5 percent decline in quarterly revenues led to a 30 percent decline in profits. A doubling of labor costs would only exacerbate this and lead to massive layoffs.
In addition to demands from labor for a higher starting wage, the National Labor Relations Board in July ruled fast food companies are responsible for the labor practices of their franchisees. That ruling makes the prospect of unionization of the industry a larger possibility and places additional pressure on the future of the industry.
As such, McDonald’s is looking to the future, a future with fewer employees.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The McDonald’s earnings report on Tuesday gave a hint at how the fast-food chain really plans to respond to its wage and profit pressure—automate.”
Further, the Journals says:
By the third quarter of next year, McDonald’s plans to introduce new technology in some markets “to make it easier for customers to order and pay for food digitally and to give people the ability to customize their orders,” reports the Journal. Mr. Thompson, the CEO, said Tuesday that customers “want to personalize their meals” and “to enjoy eating in a contemporary, inviting atmosphere. And they want choices in how they order, choices in what they order and how they’re served.”
There is something pathetically childish about this drive to earn wages that are disconnected from reality. If you double the wages of the workers, how can that not lead to a big increase in the price of what you're selling? And how can that not lead to fewer customers and reduced profit? This isn't rocket science, although for the economically ignorant, it may as well be. While a $15 wage will mean far fewer workers, for every worker unionized, the union will get their dues. They don't care about how many people lose their jobs. All they're concerned about are those who will be working and paying for the privilege of belonging to a union.
Fast food workers better wake up before the leftists and unions send most of them to the unemployment line.