Fmr. McDonald's CEO: Human workers can't compete with robot replacements

Former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi said regulation will force restaurants to turn to technology to make a profit.

“Not only is the minimum wage an issue but health care, rights to work, overtime hours, government regulation—if you look at the mounds and mounds and mounds of regulation that comes from the local, federal level it’s almost impossible to do business and make a profit,” Rensi told Stuart Varney on Varney & Co. Friday.

Rensi pointed out how Amazon has begun to use robots in its fulfilment centers.

“Look at what’s happening in retail with Amazon. Automation and robotics are going to start replacing people and they’ve got to become more efficient to make a profit,” he said. “There’s too much invested in quick service restaurants around the world across the United States. Too many dollars invested in fixed properties—[they have to] do something and that something they are going to do is automate and try to reduce the amount of labor and labor content.”

Rensi said he is working with two companies on products that would make restaurants more efficient without the help of physical workers. But he warns there are also pitfalls of automation.

“The unfortunate part of all of this is we are starting to lose the interpersonal relationships of kindness and good service and hospitality and the socialization that goes along when guys like you and I can talk over a beer,” he said.