- McDonalds has joined the self-service world by offering kiosks in its coastal restaurants, reports the Florida Times Union. The fast-food chain has joined a growing number of restaurants, including Panera Bread and Chili’s, that are using digital, self-serve kiosks.
- Customers can place their orders and pay for their food through the kiosks. After orders are placed, McDonalds’ staff will bring them to the customers’ tables or customers can pick up their orders at the counter.
- Florida Times Union reports that, while the fast-food giant sees the kiosks as examples of tech-driven operational efficiency, critics are raising age-old concerns about automation replacing human labor. Candace Moody, vice president of communications for CareerSource Northeast Florida, a workforce development agency, called the trend especially disturbing for young workers, who will find far fewer jobs because of the technological takeover.
It’s unclear how many of McDonalds’ full-time staff will lose their jobs to digital kiosks. But companies are going to continue looking for ways to cut waste and costs. Turnover is high in the fast-food industry. As workers leave, technology could permanently eliminate more of those vacancies.
It's also interesting (and perhaps a little telling) that attention to such kiosks has grown in a time when McDonald's is facing more potential labor strife, especially with the current standing of the joint employer rule.
One solution to the permanent elimination of jobs is training workers for jobs in high-growth industries, such as healthcare, and exposing them to emerging job opportunities in such areas as artificial intelligence and alternative energy.