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Order Kiosks Will Soon Follow Federal Minimum-Wage Hikes

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The federal minimum wage has been a point of contention in recent months as advocates call for the wage to be raised from $7.25 to more than $10 an hour.

Reports have indicated  that president Barack Obama is going to sign an executive order, establishing the minimum wage at $10.10 per hour for workers under new federal contracts. Workers who are currently under contract are not eligible at this time though the president will ask congress to officially raise the minimum wage to that same standard.

It’s understandable that many people are frustrated with the inability to make much money at a fast-food job. This is due to struggling to make ends meet and supporting their family. Fast-food minimum-wage jobs were never meant to become permanent and instead for the most part considered temporary and yet it is not happening in our society.

Multiple programs have glorified protests of fast-food workers, although some admitted to being there as paid protesters. The calls of unfairness for the minimum wage have been loud. Still do people really understand the repercussions of what raising the minimum wage to over $10 an hour will do?

For starters, when you’re paying people that much more money an hour, those dollars are going to have to come from somewhere. Do you think company executives are going to let it come out of their pockets? Absolutely not. So, instead of that, the cost will be put on the customer.

Now, a lot of people love McDonald’s hamburgers. Will those who enjoy the food really continue going if the cost goes up?

Let’s say they do. Are companies really going to have the same number of workers manning the counters? Of course, the drive-thru model will still need people to man it (unless these companies implement voice-recognition technology), but what about the front counters?

If the picture above this post is any indication, multiple fast-food restaurants will put in kiosks. Where customers will order at the screens for themselves and make the payment using cash or credit card as well. The only need for a human is to bring out the food. .

So, just for one customer’s order, you’ve taken a fast-food worker out of the equation, meaning they won’t have a job. Now, what if a restaurant has four registers to take orders? That means four jobs are no longer needed as a single food handler can easily distribute the trays (or bags) of food.

Don’t think it will happen? Back in 2011, McDonald’s ordered 7,000 touchscreen kiosks to replace cashiers in Europe. So, why wouldn’t they do that in the U.S.? It would save money, but also have a few other benefits:

Besides monetary incentive, and not to mention that the kiosks will also be getting rid of cash transactions since they only accept credit or debit cards, the kiosks are also a way to gather statistical information about people’s eating habits, said (McDonald’s Europe President Steve) Easterbrook. The company could potentially track every last thing you order (or perhaps offer you a free Big Mac with every ten that you purchase?).

And that’s just for fast-food restaurants. Grocery stores and retail stores are already using self-checkouts. Most gas stations are all self-service now. Hiking the minimum wage is going to send companies towards technology and taking human workers out of the equation.

When then happens, even more people will be out of the job. So, what good will raising the minimum-wage be if more people will be out of jobs?

Something does need to happen, but making such a drastic hike in the minimum wage is not the answer.

The answer lies in our education system. Today’s kids have to become more challenged in the classroom. Parents also need to get involved and stop treating school as a place where their child will get babysat.  Studies have shown that the more parents are involved, the more success kids will have in school. And when kids are more successful,  more opportunities are available and will go to college to study an area of interest.

Then, they won’t have to resort to holding a minimum-wage job when their 30.

The wrong problem is being focused on. When we focus on the right problem, our society will be much better off.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at

8 thoughts on “Order Kiosks Will Soon Follow Federal Minimum-Wage Hikes

  1. Grocery stores have put in self checkouts and yet for the most part have been a complete and utter failure. Also, for example can find a number of jobs in some chains where workers are making much more than the state’s minimum wage.

    Also are you truly trying to say an industry worth billions cannot afford to pay their workers a couple of dollars more? Please. All those companies have to do is take a look at Costco and how well their employees are paid including time and a half on Sundays.

    1. That’s a fair assessment, but even if self checkouts have been an utter failure, that’s not stopping companies from implementing them. There’s a reason many grocery stores, even on weekends, will only have a few checkout lines available. They want people to use the self-checkout and a lot of people are using it. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen someone with a full basket of groceries using the self-checkout.

      Also, the industry may be worth a few billions, but when costs go up (in this instance staffing), that extra money has to be gotten from somewhere. CEO’s and senior-level manager aren’t going to take a cut in their salary, so where does that cost get passed down to? The customers. And if you start losing customers over it, businesses will look at the model and look at how they can increase profits. Any good business owner would do that.

      Why pay four people $10/hour when you can install one machine for a few thousand dollars and it will not make any mistakes that a human person will on the register? There’s even a company out there that’s developing a machine that will cook made-to-order burgers. A person orders it via the kiosk and the same system will tell the burger-cooking machine how to cook it and then will package it as well.

      Plus, the added benefit is you don’t have to pay the computer, provide health-care coverage, vacation days and it never calls in sick. I’d make all my money back from the system installed within a month or two and I’m in the green the rest of the year.

      There’s a reason a McChicken sandwich value meal costs $2.99. Cheap food, cheap labor…it all adds up. Is it right? Absolutely not. That’s why we need to be championing parents getting involved with their kid’s education. By being involved, the kids will have more opportunities and won’t have to resort to minimum-wage jobs.

  2. That may be, but many more are adding them in…and that’s just grocery stores. How many times have you gone to a fast-food restaurant and your order was wrong? When you can input the order yourself, it ensures that your order is at least being rung up right.

  3. I totally agree with what your article is trying to say, but seriously, how much money did the person who proofed this make? Because their and they’re are two completely different words. I wanted to share this article, but that wasn’t the only grammatical error I read and how can I use this as a tool to prove my point when it has errors? You had one job, proofer!!!

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Though I find it interesting that you’re in agreement. So you think it’s okay for a CEO or high ranking officials of a company that makes billions to continue to line their pockets while workers struggle to make ends meet?

      The article didn’t touch upon what happens when said person working at a McDonalds is an adult who may have had other things where they couldn’t go to college and instead had to take 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.

      Also, let’s get this out in the open as well grocery stores have implemented kiosks of what is referred to as self-checkout, and it’s failed miserably. In fact a majority of stores are getting rid of the machines all together.

      Want to know a perfect example of a company that does it right? Costco. Do you know what the average rate of pay for a Costco employee is? What about Trader Joe’s? Those two companies right there prove that paying employees well offers a great service to the company as a whole.

      It’s why more people would prefer to shop at Costco rather than Wal-Mart.

        1. Appreciate the comment, Costco does have self-checkout lines and people do use them. Yet, it takes longer to go through and it’s not as efficient as going through the line with an actual cashier. Still if you’ve been in Costco even with the self-checkouts there’s an employee making sure everything goes smoothly because the system isn’t as great as it’s made out to be and of course it’s inefficient.

          Like I’ve said before there’s been stores who have implemented the self-checkout and those companies have learned that people didn’t use them or it was a finicky system and it caused headaches, so the self-checkouts were removed. By the way Costco might be a poor example cause just because someone isn’t working as a cashier it’s such a big store those employees can be providing customer service throughout the store, working the bakery, giving out samples, bringing in the carts, Costco isn’t bringing the self-checkout to replace employees.

          By the way Costco pays well over the minimum wage threshold, so the article about minimum wage destroying jobs, is completely bogus.

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