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June 13, 2018

McDonald's To Begin Equipping Stores with Self-Ordering Kiosks, 1000 Per Quarter, Until All Human Order-Takers Are Replaced by 2020

This doesn't just make economic sense. It makes customer-service sense, too. With the country no longer insisting or even urging a proficiency in English (even among native English speakers), the most frustrating part of any visit to McDonald's is the lengthy back-and-forth with an order-taker trying to get them to understand the words that have come out of your mouth.

It's easy enough just to push buttons. Double quarter pounder with cheese, Hold Pickles, Hold Bun. Not that difficult for customers to figure out. You don't have to be a genius to push big buttons that correspond with the food you want to buy.

A tight labor market (Thanks, Trump!) plus the leftists' demands that even the most menial, unskilled labor positions be paid a minimum of $15 per hour makes this inevitable.

The Fight for $15 has been proclaimed a success everywhere it brought about an increase in the minimum wage but, as almost anyone could have predicted, the end result is going to be more automation and, probably, fewer jobs. I'm saying "probably" fewer jobs because the official word from McDonald’s and other chains is that they aren’t necessarily cutting staff just reassigning them to other jobs in the restaurant. What jobs exactly? That's never been entirely clear. No doubt there will always be one person on hand to take orders but it could come down to just one person there to help people use the kiosks.

As the industry leader, this move is likely to get any competitors who were still on the fence moving in the same direction. Already, Wendy's, Shake Shack, and Subway have suggested they are making similar moves.

I imagine McDonald's will avoid immediate cuts to staff but will let the staffs attrit naturally without hiring replacements for the now-redundant order-takers.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 05:14 PM

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