After many long hours on a road trip, I decided to stop at a McDonald’s to use the restroom and get something to drink. As I entered, I saw their new self-service kiosk. Immediately I thought, “this is what happens when you demand a $15 minimum wage.”
I was not wrong. Ed Rensi, is the former president and CEO of McDonald’s USA. He explains that increasing the minimum wage is why we will be seeing more of these self-service kiosks at McDonalds and other stores.
He explains: “It gives me no joy to write these words. The push for a $15 starter wage has negatively impacted the career prospects of employees who were just getting started in the workforce while extinguishing the businesses that employed them.”
A few years ago, when the fight for a $15 minimum wage was being discussed, he warned that these demands would force business with small profit margins to replace full-service employees with costly investments in self-service alternatives. That is what has happened. Companies that can afford to invest in these self-service touch screens have done so.
You may have noticed that some restaurant chains have experimented with computer tablets for orders and payment. Other stores and restaurants that could not invest in such technology must find a way to hire fewer people or else go out of business.
The people most hurt by a $15 minimum wage are young people trying to get into the workforce. They aren’t looking for a “living wage.” They are looking for an opportunity to get some work experience that they can put on their resume. When I got my first job, I guarantee you that I wasn’t worth $15 an hour. When I said that on my radio program the other day, one guest joked that I’m still not worth $15 an hour!
At the very least, we should provide a starter wage for young people so they can enter the workforce and gain some valuable job experience.