There was guarded excitement about the recent announcement by the McDonald’s corp. The fast food giant announced that they will raise their new workers minimum wage to one dollar above the local minimum wage, or to about $10.00 per hour. For workers who have been demanding $15.00 per hour this was admittedly no huge victory. It was, however, a beginning and fast food workers were optimistic that victory is within their grasp.
What victory there was, will be short-lived. American fast food workers should brace themselves for the news that McDonald’s Europe has just installed 7000 touch screen kiosks to take customer orders and money. You can read all about it right here.
Of particular interest were these two paragraphs:
McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.
The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data. McDonald’s could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget, and large shake you order.
It doesn’t take an economic genius to realize that in short order, there will be many fewer human McDonalds workers. As soon as The domestic stores begin installing those kiosks, many of those now celebrating that big raise will be looking for work.
I hate to say, “I told you so.” But: “I told you so!” And so did a lot of other people. The industry has been moving towards automation for a long time. As the article points out, the technological advances will improve efficiency. making business more efficient improves the bottom line. The tech advances will also make it easier for the burger chain to sell customers what they want, by tracking data, something humans can’t do as efficiently. The market will have its way! People may kick and scream, but the market will have its way!
So, what is next? No doubt, there will be Leftists who will demand some limit on the number of kiosks, or who will lobby government in order to make manufacturing the kiosks affordable. That’s how they roll.
Those of us who are actually truly concerned with the human condition will offer say only two things: Fist, minimum wage jobs are not meant to support families, so you shouldn’t try; you will be unhappy. Second, if you want to be sure of a job, learn to repair computer kiosks, it is going to be a growth industry.