A ballot initiative to raise minimum wage in restaurants to $15/hour – more than double the current federal minimum wage – could mean restaurants will be turning to technology to save on labor costs.
According to a report from The Washington Post, new labor-saving technology could start to eliminate positions faster than they have in the past due to certain technologies being more affordable than $15/hour wages.
The report says one possibility to cut labor is burger-flipping robots or at least super-fast ovens to speed up the process. These technologies become much more cost-competitive if the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour is more than doubled.
Additionally, the Post says robots can even help cut down on the need for high-skilled workers such as sushi chefs. A number of high-end restaurants use machines for rolling rice out on sheets of nori. Sushi chefs tend to make more than $15/hour, but they could be on the chopping block if servers need to make $15/hour, too.
Other popular technologies to cut labor are
According to an article from CNN, Chili’s and Applebee’s have also implemented technologies to replace staff by putting tablets at their tables for ordering and payment, which eliminates interacting with a human wait staff at all.
Technology replacing labor could easily be the future of restaurants, and doubling the minimum wage could easily make it happen sooner than later.