McDonald's will drop opposition to increases in the federal minimum wage

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Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/27/starving-at-mcds.html

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#2

Now McDonald’s needs to use its profits and power to give thousands of cooks and cashiers across the country a real shot at the middle class by raising pay to $15 an hour and respecting its workers’ right to a union," she said.

Yeah, good luck with that. I assume if McDonalds capitulates, it’s because they already have put in motion a plan to eliminate the majority of headcount via automation within the next 5 years.

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#3

Exactly. The labor savings of the years that they held off the increased minimum wage will pay for the automation to make the new wage irrelevant.

And, as always, the true minimum wage remains Zero.

https://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/14/opinion/the-right-minimum-wage-0.00.html

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#4

IIRC back in the 90s McDonalds actually developed a fully (mostly?) automated pilot restaurant right around the time people were talking about a minimum wage hike. It was converted back to a traditional McDonalds shortly afterward.

There’s really not that much threat of a fully automated fast food restaurant at $15/hour. The machines are too expensive and require maintenance (cleaning, repair, etc…) and are difficult to reconfigure when you get new menu items. They require expensive skilled workers to maintain. It’s just not practical.

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#5

Meet the new cashiers.

Next generation “cashier” would be on the customers smartphones.

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#6

Pretty much what i immediately thought. Coincidentally burger automation is already a thing, watched a video about one such location yesterday in fact.

For this particular business they’re grinding the beef fresh, slicing the bread, veggies and shredding the cheese all on demand for maximum freshness, as well as offering many options for the burger preparation including the seasoning on the meat and makes your burger in 5mins for $6. That’s a good deal, i would imagine that if McD’s went this route they’re use cheaper ingredients so their offerings should be even more affordable.

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#7

This, absolutely. Roughly half their staff are order-takers. That’s something that’s ready to be automated right now. Why wait in line when you could order and pay right on your phone, or if you don’t have one, use a kiosk? The other half, who actually make the food, will be automated more gradually, but it will happen. Finally they will be left with a couple of workers at each location for cleaning, security, and any maintenance that the equipment needs.

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#8

Yeah, this automation is great, except when it all goes wrong. Then when the manager can’t find the answer in an appropriate 3 ring binder, it’s up to a real person to get the pizza there (that and a Deliverator)

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#9

The store near me has ordering kiosks right now. You can order from them if you don’t want to wait in line (and waiting in line is slower, because it’s now half of one person’s job to take people who come up to the counter). They would be gone already if they UI running on those kiosks weren’t total shit.

And of course they already have a variety of specialized machines, such as the robot that fills the soda portion of an order.

As you said, they can cut about half their staff, which is all they need to cut.

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#10

All this really means is McDonald’s has figured some way to pay higher wages to its peons and still maintain their profit margins. They’ll use more soybeans in their mock burgers and make store managers change the fryer oil less often and they’ve figured some way to further automate the production of their mock food so they can get rid of a lot of peons they’d otherwise have to pay the higher wages. They’ve decided they can sell an even cheaper, crappier product and still make money - nothing else could possibly fit.

#11

guess what - McD’s workers in Sweden are in a union. McD’s world did not fall apart. There is nothing but greed at work here.

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#12

We are either circling the drain or the drain is circling us.

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#13

“If the automation is free, you are the automation.”

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#14

Great! Just in time for $15/hr to no longer be enough to live on.

And everything that everyone else said about automation. When the upper class throw their “inferiors” a bone, it’s because there’s not a sliver of meat left on it, and the marrow has been sucked out as well.

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#15

One of our larger Mickey D’s here has an automated ordering kiosk. I didn’t find it particularly user friendly, and special orders still need to be processed correctly in the back. They still need someone to bring the food out to you, or at least make sure the right person gets it at the counter.

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#16

There is a McDs here with the kiosks. It’s an odd McDonald’s in an odd spot, located two blocks from a city park on the main street of town where the good neighborhood meets the bad neighborhood. Their clients range from homeless people to millionaires, and often at the same time.

I’ve never seen anyone use the kiosks. Everyone turns their nose at them and goes to the counter. From the millionaires to the homeless guys, no one wants to use the kiosk; so everyone waits in line together.

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#17

Any business model that depends on paying employees less than a living wage should not be a viable business model.

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#18

It’s funny, because if a business could not pay for any other aspect of business, everyone would agree that they are not a well run business… but they keep claiming they can’t pay a living wage, and no one bats an eye.

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#19

One thing that McDonald’s has done quietly over the last few years is re-design their kitchen system so they can make more items with fewer people and less waste. So far, in the McDonald’s shops with the ordering kiosks, they seem to have the same number of employees, but more of them are bringing food out, cleaning the dining area, etc. It doesn’t seem to have reduced headcount, but has certainly improved service and order accuracy.

closed #20

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