Carl's Jr. CEO Readies Robot Workforce to Counter Rising Wages

Jandau

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Dec 19, 2008
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*sigh* Idiots will be idiots

If everyone automates everything, then nobody will be able to get a job and nobody will be able to buy anything. So what good is a cheap, ever-wakeful workforce that never takes vacations if nobody is buying your products or services? This is something mankind in general will need to face quite soon...

There are several possible ways this will play out:

1. We make working optional - social state kicks in. High taxes and wealth redistribution, but everyone gets a basic income regardless of employment. Most of work is automated anyway, so we all benefit from it. Highly unlikely in the US, possible in the EU.

2. We regulate the use of automation. Set criteria on which jobs may be automated, so things that can be done by people will remain being done by people. A fairly likely scenario, though not quite yet.

3. We do nothing. Automation drives more and more people out of work to the point that a critical mass of disenfranchised is created, and we get a good old fashioned uprising.

4. We do nothing. The lack of purchasing power due to unemployment brings about even more recessions, which keeps happening until another solution is reached or the overall logistical system needed to support high levels of automation breaks down.

5. A vast percentage of population is removed. Population control, wars, disease, climate change, whatever. Surplus workforce is removed, society reforms based on automation to pick up the slack.

All in all, it's bleak in the short term, but not in the long term. Such large scale automation isn't viable in our current economic and social paradigm and the situation will either be resolved by us, or it will resolve itself despite us...
 

Ambitiousmould

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You know what, I'm not going to go on about how cuntish this is in regards to economy, morality and social responsibility because I can't say anything that hasn't been said already. What I will say is this. I don't know how it is in the US but in the UK it is impossible to get anything done by taking it up with a company's employees or customer service because all they do i follow a script they've been given. It's not their fault, they have to follow their employers rules and get fired for using common sense. But imagine how much worse it would be when these roles are taken up by robots, which literally cannot go off script. You find customer service frustrating now, just you fucking wait.

 

Totenkreuz

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I remember reading something similar a couple of years ago. Some company didn't want to raise their wages because if they did then robots would be cheaper to use than real people. They 'won' that argument and no wages were raised because of it. Not even one year later that same company fired alot of their workers and instead bought robots to do their job because they are cheaper than even the lowest paying jobs.

So from what I know, from this one situation which might not even be true because I didn't check up on the "facts" written in that years old thing I read, this might be some sort of 'pre emptive strike' where they say that if wages go up then they will have to fire people. But actually, they are already planing on doing so and are just creating the answer to that inevitable question: "why did you fire so many people and replace them with robots" which might be asked in a couple of years.

Thats my take on it, my very, very stupid (almost conspiracy level) take on it hehe.
Cheers.
 

AstaresPanda

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just greedy pricks being greedy pricks. Like someone else pointed out itr works fine in the UK and EU so0o0o0o0o he is clearly full of it.
 

Ugicywapih

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Ever heard of Ned Ludd? He's a figure bordering on reality and folklore, after whom Luddites were named, a fairly active movement at the onset of XIXth century, where weavers would attack industrial equipment out of a well-founded concern, that said equipment will allow their work to be done by fewer, less skilled (and thus competitively priced) employees, forcing them out of a job. Turns out they were right, but they didn't die out, they just had to find different work.
Ultimately, as we now know Industrial Revolution has taken many lives of unqualified employees working in dangerous conditions because of insufficient legal regulation, an environment that mostly just allowed the rich to get richer, and faster. However, we have since developed laws, that make industry an important part of the modern world, that benefits not only the corporate fatcats, but pretty much everyone living in industrialized countries. As such, I don't think that progressing automation of work as a result of developments in robotics is something we should avoid - quite the opposite, it's to be welcomed, albeit well scrutinized and sensibly regulated (So like, write to your congressman about it or something? I'm not sure how that works in US - I mean this is inherently a global issue, but the fastfood in question is 'murican), so that we can hopefully avoid any situations analogous to XIXth century worker exploitation and the shit that came with it.
Honestly, I don't think we have reached a point already, where AI would offer suitable replacement for human servers at an economically viable price, but if he can make it work, it's probably a good thing for everyone.

TL;DR: A bad guy is doing a bad thing for bad reasons, but good things will come of it yet, especially if we help, so don't worry.
 

P-89 Scorpion

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rcs619 said:
I'd bet good money that if you raised prices by a few cents per item you could afford it too. Back during the healthcare debate, Papa Johns claimed that it would be prohibitively expensive to provide all of their workers with healthcare. Turns out, you just need to raise prices by something like a dollar per pizza. I'll pay a dollar more for a $25 pizza if it means people get heath coverage. These are not poor, barely-getting-by mom and pop businesses. These are multi-million dollar entities. Most of the "if you raise wages I'll fire people" arguments are complete BS. They just don't want to take the tiniest hit in profits to actually provide for their workers.
Person 1 "Hey did you hear Carl's raised the salary of it's workers"
Person 2 "That's good"
Person 1 "Want to go eat there?"
Person 2 "No way they charge to much this other place is cheaper"

Extra Credits episode on what a 1 cent price increase can do to a multi billion dollar company.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxfkWZPAUg4&list=PLB9B0CA00461BB187&index=140
 

Eclipse Dragon

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Parasondox said:
Oh my fucking God!! Businesses in the US, why the fuck are you afraid of actually paying your staff members a decent, reasonable wage? Is that also the reason why tips are so high? Cause bosses can't be asked to pay waitress fully and correctly?
They aren't afraid of paying their staff a livable wage, they just don't want to. Paying their staff a decent wage means they can't afford that fourth ferrari they've been dreaming about.

There's this idea put forward by some CEOs that state "if I pay my workers less, then I can hire more workers and create more jobs for those that need them." however, in practice these CEOs are not so benevolent, instead they opt to run their companies on minimum wage, overworked skeleton crews[footnote]Then have the audacity to complain about losses and customer dissatisfaction because there aren't enough employees to cover all the tasks necessary to keep the store running efficiently.[/footnote].

I always found it interesting that the reward for being a good worker is overtime (read: more work).

-------------------------

OT: For those who didn't read the source article, it gets better.

But Puzder says that a restaurant that's 100% automated would have one big plus for millennials: no social interaction.

"Millennials like not seeing people," he says. "I've been inside restaurants where we've installed ordering kiosks ... and I've actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there's a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody."
 

TsunamiWombat

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So? Economics is an ecosystem, not a machine. One change causes a ripple effect. OK so you replace your front end staff with machines. Suzy, Sally, and Sheila lose their jobs as cashiers at the Quickie Burg. Except you need at least one human employee to keep an eye on the machines and because customers are accustomed to and demand human interaction in some degree, so Sheila gets hired back to babysit them to do that. Because her new job is technically a supervisor posistion and involves looking over multiple stations, it includes higher pay. Suzy and Sally are still crocked of course. Except you need technicians to service the machines when they inevitably break or glitch. A new infrastructure is created for this end. Even at the bare minimum you need a technician to service the machines, and a dispatch to handle the work load. Either you create this in house or new companies form to see to this need. You likely create more jobs than you cut. The cost is not lost, you defray it.
 

NickBrahz

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Last time i checked with a min wage of $17ish in my country we still had fast food places, infact they are even now all becoming 24/7 because enough people go to them.
 

MCerberus

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I love the logic here, labor is at its cheapest point in a century. Any correction upwards is class warfare.
 

Schadrach

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Kuala BangoDango said:
He's spouting trickle-down economics and it DOES NOT WORK.
He's spouting trickle down economics from the position of the only folks it actually works for -- the guys at the top. Because it doesn't, you know, trickle.

Of course, it's not wrong to say that you can be more loose with hiring if you don't have to pay them much, and thus to a certain degree a lower minimum wage does mean more jobs (because it's cheap enough to throw more people at it to make the short term cost of moving to automation look unattractive, and short term profits are all that matter), but you're still going to only run the minimum crew you need for the job.

My current employer actually has everyone on reduced hours to avoid layoffs, and is having them do miscellaneous work instead of their actual jobs because we're between projects and it's easier and cheaper to have skilled tradesmen building fences at his farm, painting the offices, doing maintenance on company vehicles, etc (while still being paid at the hourly rate they make when making us money) than to try to replace them when the next project starts. In the past, we've been in that situation for upwards of a quarter, but we're a manufacturing company that really can't automate much (every piece is a one-off).
 

Czann

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I'm all for robots making my food because hygiene but this guy is an asshole.

They actually don't want employees, they want slaves.
 

BodomBeachChild

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It's called a minimum wage job for a reason people. Minimum. Wage.
If you can't make a living off of it, work hard to get a better job? I did. Everyone else I know did.
 

metalblazeman

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This is the kind of thing that's going to lead to a world where robots take up most of our population. I'm not okay with this seeing that putting a bunch of people out of work and money to keep themselves afloat.
 

Eclipse Dragon

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BodomBeachChild said:
It's called a minimum wage job for a reason people. Minimum. Wage.
If you can't make a living off of it, work hard to get a better job? I did. Everyone else I know did.
If they take your advice and work hard to get a higher paying job because they can't make a living off of minimum wage, will there be enough decent paying jobs for everyone, considering those that are also being outsourced?

Don't get me wrong, I have a job in which I make that mythical $15 an hour, but I'm not so naive as to think my degree will save me from being replaced should somebody with slightly shottier skills but willing to work for $10 comes knocking because $10 looks good when you only make $8.

That's not even taking into account those who do have degrees, but simply can't get jobs in their field because it's over-saturated.
 

Parasondox

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BodomBeachChild said:
It's called a minimum wage job for a reason people. Minimum. Wage.
If you can't make a living off of it, work hard to get a better job? I did. Everyone else I know did.
And how many "better jobs" are there? Is there even enough "better jobs" out there available to everyone? What if that "better job" that isn't on a minimum wages basis, does support the persons living cost?

It's all well and easy for you and "experts" to say, "well get a better job so you aren't on minimum wage", every time this argument comes up but are we actually looking at the stats and numbers correctly.

For example, in the North of England, they say the minimum wage suits many for people there than it does for those in the south because the price of living is less. However, there are less jobs Up North compared to the south. There may be more jobs in the south but the price of living is too high for so many which would result in people moving more and away from London and the south to areas who my have less job vacancies but can save a few pounds daily/weekly.

"Ahh, but what about they just drive and travel to work from North to South? Live in a cheap area but work where jobs are available."

Great idea but I'll give you an answer as to way that may not fully work. Apart from TFL, our rails (transport mostly) are private and run by companies. These companies focus on profit. Do you know how ridiculously expensive it is to travel in this country if you don't book two weeks in advance. Our transport infrastructure complex at the moment and aging pretty quickly. From motorways to rails, travelling isn't that easy. Yes improvements are being made but more problems keep raising. Pretty much money comes down to it.
 

DemomanHusband

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BodomBeachChild said:
It's called a minimum wage job for a reason people. Minimum. Wage.
If you can't make a living off of it, work hard to get a better job? I did. Everyone else I know did.
That's kind of a shitty thing to say. 'Oh, are you sick because you can't afford to buy better food and medicine on your low wage? Well, work past your inability to eat/live healthily and things will get better!'

Ooh, I have another. 'Aw, can't afford to keep paying off that car you need to get to work? Get a better job, idiot! Duh. Don't give me that bullshit about you not being able to get one, either! It's really easy, I swear!'
 

The White Hunter

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Li Mu said:
BUT WAIT! HOLD THE PRESS! Countries in Europe have a good minimum wage. Burger restaurants are forced to pay their staff a reasonably good wage (better than their brothers and sisters get in the United States)

"Oh Li Mu", I hear you cry, "Due to this decent living wage, all the burger restaurants must have surely closed down in Europe. How could they possibly ever make a profit whilst still paying their employees a livable salary?"

Well, it sure sounds crazy, doesn't it? Especially if you believe Mr. Carl jr. But strangely, Europe is full of burger joints.


I worked in KFC 12 years ago in the UK. I was getting ?6.70 per hour, which was a great little wage when I was 19 and still at college. ?6.70 is just over $9.
I've just checked out the average wage for a McDonalds employee in the US and it's $7-$9. 12 years ago I was earning more than a US burger flipper earns today.
Does KFC still exist in the UK? Yup. Does it still exist in Europe? Yup. So paying your staff a better wage clearly hasn't caused the collapse of KFC. They haven't had to resort to robots.

"Oh, but the cost of living in the UK is waaaay higher than in the US", I hear you shout. Well you're wrong.

Here's a little research I've done.

Rent Prices in United Kingdom are 8.86% lower than in United States
Indeed, our restaurant prices are way higher (mainly due to actually paying our staff and not having them rely on tips)
But hey, I'd rather get a better salary and eat out once a month rather than every week.

Basically, my wonderful state side brothers and sisters...you are exploited. You are being exploited like a Chinese kid in a sweatshop. But the weird thing is, half of you support your own exploitation.

EDIT; Oh come on Escapist. You refuse to recognize the 'pound sign'. It's one of main world currencies for God's sake. Dear reader, please replace the ?6.70 with 6 [british pounds] and 70[british pence], since the Escapist's forum doesn't accept the existence of any currency other than the dollar.
Rent on average may be lower in the UK but that's not really the whole picture of cost of living, my partner has lived in both countries, rent is cheaper where she lives in Newcastle than it was in SoCal but a fair amount of other basics cost more, a lot of fruit and veg costs more, meat costs less, some toiletries cost less, gasoline costs a lot more, most luxuries cost more because we have bullshit high VAT.

That said the minimum wage in the US is disgustingly low, it's still too low in the UK really to, and the "living wage" you get after you reach 25 won't help at all because putting an age gate on a higher wage rate opens a whole new can of worms. I earen about 7.20 an hour at present as a cook, saving up to get a car and train to for my C1+E licence to get a job that doesnt pay garbage rates.
 

Jaegerwolf

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TsunamiWombat said:
So? Economics is an ecosystem, not a machine. One change causes a ripple effect. OK so you replace your front end staff with machines. Suzy, Sally, and Sheila lose their jobs as cashiers at the Quickie Burg. Except you need at least one human employee to keep an eye on the machines and because customers are accustomed to and demand human interaction in some degree, so Sheila gets hired back to babysit them to do that. Because her new job is technically a supervisor posistion and involves looking over multiple stations, it includes higher pay. Suzy and Sally are still crocked of course. Except you need technicians to service the machines when they inevitably break or glitch. A new infrastructure is created for this end. Even at the bare minimum you need a technician to service the machines, and a dispatch to handle the work load. Either you create this in house or new companies form to see to this need. You likely create more jobs than you cut. The cost is not lost, you defray it.
The problem with this theory is that you're not going to have the technician and dispatch for just that one store unless it's a large one. They will likely be covering many stores over a significant area . I know because it's what I do now already for POS equipment. Even with new fields being created you'll need less bodies then before, which will drive down wages further due to supply and demand.