For more than a year, supporters of the “Fight for $15" campaign have sought to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour, arguing that anything less would prevent them from being able to "pay [their] rent and support [their] families.”
As workers strike across the nation, some cities — like Los Angeles — have voted to increase wages over the next several years, while Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have also made strides to do the same.
With these new requirements beginning to take effect, some fast food establishments have been forced to explore new measures in order to keep costs down, like these new additions to Hardee's:
The new kiosks, which are automated and “self-order,” have reportedly already been installed in dozens of locations.
Tom Lindblom — chief technology officer of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's — explains:
“Our target market of young, hungry millennials, as well as younger and older customers, love the new ordering kiosks. The self-ordering kiosk gives the customer a fun, interactive and user-friendly way to control their order."
In addition to making ordering more convenient, the kiosks also appear to provide a 10% discount to customers who choose to use them.
In 2014, over 500 economists signed an open letter addressed to the White House and Congress warning of the “serious consequences of raising the minimum wage,” including — as one business owner put it — the likely reduction of “the number of available entry-level jobs to those just entering the work force.”
It seems these new automated kiosks may be examples of what restaurants, unable to keep up with rising minimum wage costs, will be forced to resort to rather than hiring flesh-and-blood employees.