American fast food chains have been making increasing wages for workers which has lead to some companies to consider replacing cashiers with robots, including those like Jack in the Box in California. The chain previously tested technology such as kiosks and reported a higher average check and enhanced efficiency. Despite the expensive financial investment of these kiosks, the result of rising minimum wages has marked a game changer in saving money by replacing employees. This year, minimum wages are increasing in 18 states.
Other chains such as Red Robin announced plans to save $8 billion this year by cutting bus boys from their jobs. Already, the company saved about $10 million by eliminating expediters. Last year, both Wendy’s and McDonald’s announced plans to install self-ordering kiosks where McDonald’s already added this self serving technology to 2,500 stores without replacing cashiers just yet. Retailers like Walmart also announced a pay raise for their employees and is already testing shelf scanning and floor automated cleaning robots. Other smaller chains such as Eatsa and CaliBurger have been working on making the entire restaurant experience automated.
Currently, the restaurant industry makes up about 10% o the American workforce. The future is looking at automation to potentially shrink the number of restaurant industry jobs, threatening about 800 million positions.