Jack In The Box CEO: We May Replace Workers With Robots Because Of $15 Minimum Wage Campaign

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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The CEO of the popular fast-food chain Jack in the Box said Tuesday that the rising minimum wage in states, like California and New York, understandably triggers a serious consideration to employ robots instead of human workers.

“As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense,” said Leonard Comma, who is also the chairman, according to Business Insider.

While the upfront cost may be ostensibly steep, it presumably saves lots of money in the long-run, maybe even sooner, since inflated wages and benefits only necessary for humans probably exceeds any potential technical maintenance. A test run also increased the average pay for the human workers that remained and still necessary, says Comma, according to BI.

“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” Andy Puzder, then-CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, told BI in 2016.

Jack in the Box is apparently considering the prospect, but if it does ultimately adopt the technology, it would be one of several restaurants to use advanced kiosks that take orders and payments, and thus often replace the need for real-life employees.

McDonald’s launched a machine last year in a select Boston location that dispensed the fast-food chain’s trademark sandwich, the Big Mac.

Wendy’s has also done the same, announcing in 2016 that it will be offering self-ordering kiosks for franchisees at more than 6,000 restaurants. Wendy’s President Todd Penegor said at the time that certain branches of his restaurant were raising prices to counteract forced wage hikes.

Minimum wage increases are occurring in more than a dozen states, according to Business Insider, indicating — if others agree with Comma, Penegor’s, and McDonald’s apparent thought process —  that more kiosks and thus less jobs will ultimately emerge.


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