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McDonald’s Answer to ‘Living Wage’ Demands

It is beyond me how people can think the minimum wage should be increased anywhere from forty to two hundred percent, depending on who you listen to, and that prices would not go up along with the wage hike.  Do people truly believe that business owners just have so much extra cash lying around that they can increase wages that much and just absorb the extra cost without passing it along to their customers?  Or by cutting back on the number of employees?

Well it seems the wage complainers, protests and strikes have been noticed at the corporate offices and some relief may be on the way – for the businesses.  Fast food employees who walked off the job and picketed for a ‘living wage’ may soon regret their decision to do so.

In Romeoville, Illinois, there is a McDonald’s restaurant right next to what McDonald’s calls their “Innovation Center.”  New items, procedures, equipment and technology are tested at the restaurant in Romeoville before being deployed to the rest of the country.  It is being reported that they are currently testing some new equipment pictured below.


These are automated cashiers.  That’s right, these machines will take your order and your payment, but never walk off the job to demand more money, never talk back to management, never want an extra smoke break and never call in sick.  The testing in Romeoville will answer some important questions for McDonald’s – Will the public want to use them?  Can they perform the necessary functions while being user-friendly?  Are they cost-effective?

To be cost-effective they need only cost less to purchase and maintain than the wages paid to a human.  An economics blogger has some numbers on that factor that fast food employees may not want to see.

Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

  • For a location open 24 hours: The cost of human cashiers, not counting benefits, $15/hour * 24 hours * 365 days/year = $131,400
  • For a location open 6AM to Midnight:  $15/hour * 18 hours * 365 = $98,550.

 For the machine to be cost-effective, all it needs to do is cost less than $100,000 a year to buy and maintain.

Since these machines are already widely used in Europe the question of their cost effectiveness seems to be answered. 

It might come as a surprise to any liberals who are reading this but the whole purpose of having a business is to turn a profit, not to provide jobs.  With the advancements in technology, machines like this were inevitable but the complaining about not being paid enough has likely motivated McDonald’s and other businesses to seek alternatives.

If you really want a job with huge possibilities and probably higher than minimum wage I’d suggest you get a job with the companies that sell these automated cashiers.  They’re probably going to be doing a lot of business in the coming years.

4 comments to McDonald’s Answer to ‘Living Wage’ Demands

  • My apologies, Charles. I let this post slip by me, even though I have your feed in my RSS reader and am subscribed to your email list. Life kind of got in the way.

    These automated cashiers are the end result of unexpected consequences that liberals can’t seem to grasp when they declare they want to force McDonald’s, and similar employees to raise the minimum wage to such an exorbitant level. It will cost jobs, plain and simple, but they refuse to acknowledge that fact.

  • I’m sure there are some elected liberals who would pass legislation outlawing these devices if they could and mandating high wages for fast food employees. Never mind if the business makes a profit or not.

  • Oh, the business will make a profit. The extra costs would just be passed on to the customer, like always.

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