Another fast food chain looking at robots as 'government is driving up the cost of labor'

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Friday March 18th, 2016

Pricing yourself out of a job.

Way back in 2014, we talked about how then-recent strikes had compelled McDonald's to focus more effort on the concept of automated restaurants. Since then, the "fight for 15" movement has become a fixture of the class-warfare obsessed left. The problem, of course, is that an increased minimum wage - coupled with increasing demands for benefits - means more overhead.  That means less profit for the employer, and it incentivizes cutting staff.

If you're in the fast food business, you still need to assemble the burgers. So it's easy to understand why automation is so attractive. 

Now, we have another fast food CEO following McDonald's lead.

From Yahoo Finance:

The CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's has visited the fully automated restaurant Eatsa — and it's given him some ideas on how to deal with rising minimum wages.

"I want to try it," CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider of his automated restaurant plans. "We could have a restaurant that's focused on all-natural products and is much like an Eatsa, where you order on a kiosk, you pay with a credit or debit card, your order pops up, and you never see a person."

Puzder's interest in an employee-free restaurant, which he says would be possible only if the company found time as Hardee's works on its northeastern expansion, has been driven by rising minimum wages across the US.

"With government driving up the cost of labor, it's driving down the number of jobs," he says. "You're going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants."

This should be obvious to anyone who sat through the first week of Econ-101 but, apparently, it's not. Corporations exist to make money. Circumvent the free market and, unless you also implement some sort of draconian price and profit controls, businesses will find a way to shore up the bottom line. In this case, that means finding a replacement for employees who've decided to price themselves out of a job.

The bottom line is that the "fight for 15" is really a fight for fewer jobs and higher unemployment - particularly among entry-level workers. 

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