Former McDonald’s USA (NYSE:MCD) CEO Ed Rensi said on Thursday the restaurant industry is a bellwether for the state of play in America’s minimum wage small businesses.
“People are going to get eliminated because technology is cheaper over the long-road than what is minimum wage,” Rensi told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.”
Minimum wage increases took effect in 18 U.S. states in earlier this month, and has already impacted some casual dining chains.
Restaurants aren’t the only industry seeing minimum wage increases, Walmart, on Thursday, raised its starting hourly wages to $11 an hour, while giving employees a one-time bonus of up to $1,000, depending upon the length of time spent with the company.
“Walmart’s even talking about doing away with all their employees and everything is going to be done with a smart device,” said Rensi.
Red Robin, on Monday, announced it would eliminate bus boys at 570 locations in an effort to save an estimated $8 million over the course of 2018.
The CEO of Jack in the Box, on Tuesday, said he is considering replacing cashiers with automated kiosks. Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN), in 2016, announced it would offer self-ordering kiosks.
“We’ve confused what minimum wage is with a living wage. It’s not a living wage,” Rensi said.
McDonald’s is also rolling out kiosks in 2,500 locations, but has vowed to not replace cashiers.