A word of caution to striking fast food workers

posted at 1:21 pm on August 30, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

You can be replaced:

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.

Automation becomes more and more of an option as our technology advances continue to expand exponentially.  And automation usually is used to replace low-end, low-skilled workers – like those in fast food restaurants.  That’s an unfortunate truth.  Automation becomes a viable option when the job it would replace becomes too expensive to the employer when using traditional means.  That is, a worker.  If the worker can be replaced at a reasonable cost with a machine or system that is reliable and in the end makes that operation more efficient and profitable, chances are the employer will take that option.

$15 an hour certainly pushes any number of fast food jobs into that range.    The McDonald’s kiosks are simply a fast food version of ATMs.  The list of what they don’t require is quite extensive.  They don’t require scheduling, benefits, sick days, or even pay.  They’re efficient, consistent, and while they might break down occasionally, they’ll never demand a vacation or time off.  Oh, and no ObamaCare costs.

~McQ

 


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