In the last few years, business and labor in the fast food industry have been clashing over the $15 an hour minimum wage. Labor contends that $15 an hour gets you closer to a living wage environment for millions in the fast food industry. Business says that they cannot financially support their business model paying a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage. During this heated debate, both sides have amped up the rhetoric of the issue and seemed destined for a collision course. Now, numerous states have passed $15 minimum wage laws, with several others implementing minimum wages that ramp up to a $15 wage. The fast food industry has now responded with announcements that they will start implementing automated or robotic service in their restaurants to offset the imposed wage minimums. Are you ready to be served a burger from a robot?
Fast Food Starts to Automate Service
With the minimum age debate reaching epic proportions between labor and business, the fast food industry has developed and begun to implement plans to automate their restaurants. For those of the right generational memory, this takes us back to the fantasy of the ‘Jetsons’ from Saturday morning cartoons. The vision of the fast food industry is that you will be able to get fast and efficient service from an automated model. This would allow them to significantly reduce the human resources required to deliver their product at a fair price to the hungry public. These innovations have moved past the innovation and development stage into the testing and implementation stage for some in the industry. Developments in automation, big data and Lean Six Sigma practices has enabled the industry to reach their goal of automation.
The Future of Fast Food
Because of the reality of labor relations in fast food, automation has found an opportunity to deliver! No matter which side of the debate you are on, the idea of an automated service model in the food industry, on a national level, is intriguing. For those whose profession is in the practice of Lean Six Sigma, the opportunity will open new opportunities for quality improvement and learning.