Wendy’s Announces Major Change in Response to $15 Minimum Wage

The Wendy’s fast-food restaurant chain announced Thursday it will be including self-serving kiosks in its 6,000 plus locations by the end of this year.

The move comes in the wake of two of the nation’s most populous states, California and New York, passing $15 mandatory minimum wage laws.

Wendy’s president Todd Penegor reported that the chain’s company owned stores (making up 10 percent of the total) are seeing between a 5 to 6 percent increase in labor costs, driven by minimum wage hikes and the need to offer competitive wages to “access good labor,” according to Investor’s Business Daily.

According to the news outlet, McDonald’s has also been testing self-service kiosks.

Last year, Seattle became the first major city in the country to mandate a $15 minimum wage, which is being phased in over the next few years, as is the case in New York and California.

The new law appears to have already hit the Emerald City’s restaurant industry the hardest, due to the tight profit margins (around 4 percent) that are standard. Multiple restaurants have closed or changed their staffing or hours.

“Some restaurants have tacked on a 15 percent surcharge to cover the higher wages. And some managers are no longer encouraging customers to tip, leading to a redistribution of income. Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut,” according to Fox News.

Anthony Anton, president and CEO of Washington Restaurant Association stated, “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.”

Private businesses, unlike government entities (which, in theory, can always raise taxes or borrow), must make more than they spend in order to pay the rent, make payroll, keep the lights on, pay their business taxes, and, heaven forbid, have some left over for the owners and investors who are taking the risk and putting in the long hours.

Fox Business Network’s Stuart Varney said of the $15 minimum wage on Fox and Friends Friday, “This is a failed policy. It is a destroying jobs, and it is hurting young people, in particular.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, over half of all minimum wage earners are between the ages of 16 and 24, and two-thirds of the employees who start at the minimum wage gain a pay raise within in a year. (For more from the author of “Wendy’s Announces Major Change in Response to $15 Minimum Wage” please click HERE)

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