McDonald’s is replacing at least 2500 cashiers with robotic kiosks as part of a grand strategy to stay competitive.
The embattled fast food giant, which recently flirted with the possibility of shutting down hundreds of stores, hopes its “Experience of the Future” program will reverse stagnant sales.
“McDonald’s is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and ‘Experience of the Future’ (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery,” reported CNBC. “Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018…”
The company’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, argued that the kiosks won’t replace human labor but will instead transition workers into new roles, such as table service.
Ironically, that could theoretically lead to McDonald’s workers making $15 an hour if they start making tips from busing tables.
But what is known, however, is that fast food chains are unleashing robotic kiosks to counter rising operating costs which don’t even factor in worker demands for higher wages.
Earlier this year, Wendy’s announced it was placing kiosks in 16% of its stores as part of a pilot program.
Wendy’s chief information officer, David Trimm, said the kiosks allow customers to avoid long lines during peak hours while increasing kitchen production.
“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,” he stated in Feb.
That said, fast food chains must grapple with changing public tastes as consumers flock to healthier alternatives in resistance against high-frutose corn syrup and GMOs.
The automation highlights the dilemma of fast food employees who are trying to maintain a living at a jobs intended to be staffed temporarily by young workers.
In fact, McDonalds became a hit in the 1950s due to its highly-automated production by efficient workers mimicking robots.
Fast food restaurants were always destined to be staffed by robots; they just didn’t exist until now.
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