Another Fast Food CEO Considers Swapping Cashiers for Kiosks

First it was Panera, Wendy's and McDonald's– now Jack in the Box' CEO has said the restaurant chain is considering investing more in kiosk technology and less into staffing

Area of the country, including California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland and New York City are expected to see an increase in the minimum wage this year. California is expected to be the first state with a $15 minimum wage. NYC’s wage is going to reach $15 an hour by 2019. Maine and Colorado have a goal to implement $12 an hour by 2020. 

With the various impending minimum wage hikes, the fast food industry is looking for ways to alleviate some business operating costs. Kiosks and other technologies streamlining day-to-day operations are being implemented and tested across the fast food sector. 

"As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense," said Leonard Comma, Jack in the Box's CEO at the ICR Conference.

Jack in the Box, which just sold the fast casual Mexican chain Qdoba, has tested kiosks in a few markets and the technology performed well. 

Comma said that the kiosks not only helped with efficiency, but they also resulted in higher average check prices. 

It looks as though fast food chains and several of Jack in Box's competitors in particular are leading the way when it comes to utilizing new technology in their stores. 

McDonald's will be adding kiosks at 2,500 stores, but has promised that this isn't a move to replace current cashiers. Wendy's also announced last February that kiosks will be installed at  1,000 of the chain's stores.

Although these chains seem to be ahead of the curve in the restaurant industry, kiosks are already a popular technology being used in other sectors– like at airports, convenience stores, grocery stores, and movie theaters. 

So it's all a matter of time until we start seeing kiosks at every fast food restaurant. 

But the real questions remain – will less staff be needed with these kiosks? And will the minimum only propel the implementation of this technology? 

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