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In response to minimum wage hikes across the country, Wendy’s is adding self-service kiosks to all of its more than 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and around the world, though franchisees will be able to decide whether or not to use the technology, the company has announced. The kiosks will be installed by the end of 2016.
The decision to deploy machines follows a growing call for a livable minimum wage by non-salaried workers, a mandate that directly affects the fast food industry.
In some cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York, a $15 minimum wage has been signed into legislation, though many restaurant owners across the country have fought hard to prevent such a law. Currently, the national minimum wage is $7.25, though individual states can set their own wage minimums.
In the case of Wendy’s, one of the largest fast food companies in the world, the strategy seems to be reducing the need for human labor almost entirely, save for the restaurant managers or franchise owners who can stomach working alone in a room of machines all day.