Former McDonald’s CEO says $15 wage a job-killer

About the Author
Erin Shannon
Director, Center for Worker Rights

Former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi says the new $15 minimum wage being enacted in some cities and states is a job-killer.

He says the massive increase in labor costs will force employers to “raise prices and cut costs, which means getting rid of people.”  It’s already happening; McDonalds is increasingly replacing its human workers with automated kiosks.  A new “mega-McDonalds” in Missouri boasts more comfortable seating and fewer workers taking orders.  The owner says machines to actually make the food are not far behind.

One reporter who tested McDonald’s human-free kiosk ordering raved about “the technology that’s going to change McDonalds forever.”

Applebee’s, Chili’s, and have also embraced technology to replace workers. 

Rensi is not the first fast-food executive to warn of the consequences of the artificially high wage.  The CEO of fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Andy Puzder, has repeatedly said the push for a high minimum wage will result in fewer entry-level jobs. 

Puzder recently announced he is exploring a fully automated, employee-free, restaurant.  One such restaurant, Eatsa, is already embracing the human-free business model.  The restaurant is doing so well it has been named one of the most influential brands in the restaurant industry by Nation's Restaurant News and is set to open 10 more locations in the next year.

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