A new mega-McDonald’s comes complete with a glimpse of the future as fast food chains respond to legislation enforcing minimum wage hikes.
In addition to adding bottomless fries to their menu, and revamping the atmosphere to provide armchairs and couches, the Mound City, Mo., McDonald’s will have kiosks taking orders instead of people.
Owner Chris Habiger said the kiosks will make it easier for customers to order. But efficiency is not all the kiosks represent.
Andy Pudzer, CEO of Hardee’s and fellow fast food giant Carl’s Jr. said moving from people to technology is the future of the fast food sector.
He said the need to explore an “employee-free restaurant” is linked to higher minimum wage rates imposed by state and local governments. New York State and California are two of the largest states to recently embrace the drive for a $15 minimum wage.
“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?”
Pudzer suggested the Eatsa chain of restaurants, which are fully automated, as a possible model. Customers swipe charge cards into iPads, then place their orders.
McDonald’s is using kiosks in more places than just Missouri. It recently unveiled one in Chicago for coffee customers.