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Higher wages bring layoffs

Pizza Hut announced it would lay off over 1000 workers after the $20 an hour minimum wage increase. Foster’s Freeze shut down several stores. Other chains are either raising prices or cutting staff. Those consequences couldn’t have been unintended, right?

More layoffs are likely imminent. It seems like a nice thing to do for the fast food workers, but the outcome may actually be that they may lose their jobs altogether.

It just seems that the more the government interferes, the more businesses have to get creative. So the fast food chains, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, etc likely will be laying off thousands of workers and implementing automated kiosks over time, which they have been testing over the last few years.

Why not? If employees aren’t affordable, then they have to come up with a way to keep their prices down so that people will still buy their product and they can keep from losing their business.

The sad thing is that food has already become more expensive, inflation is increasing the cost of almost everything, so automation seems to be a reasonable investment. Also, the kiosks never call in sick, or talk back, or steal from you.

The manufacturers also claim that it makes the ordering process easier, tracks all the orders, sometimes increases revenue, and offers a personalized customer experience. What? A personalized customer experience? I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate those human beings who offer a smile, greet me, take my order, and possibly banter a little bit.

As AI and automation starts to replace our truck drivers, our restaurant workers, and many other jobs, I just think we may be missing something more important.

I know I’ve written this before, but our jobs are more than just a place where we make money. It gives us purpose to get out of bed. The work we do for and with each other is important.

I think about the diners in town. How important are the servers and cooks? I wonder if the server who helps a senior for breakfast or lunch may be the only interaction and smile that senior has with someone face to face all day. I don’t believe a kiosk can ever replace that.

The work we do for each other is important. It’s part of what makes a community a great place to interact.

When you set a minimum wage that is above what is already one of the highest statewide minimum wages in the country, it is going to negatively impact the marketplace.

I wonder at what point a restaurant won’t be able to adjust anymore? At what point will the customer experience have been changed too much and the price of their food have been increased so much that people will just stop going?


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