This fast-food minimum wage campaign has the potential
to go down as an all-time EPIC bonehead move by the left-
what if it makes clear economic sense to replace
workers with automation at $7/hr, too?
But what about the little guy?
The legislation recently seen in New York, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle inflicts large minimum wage increases on restaurants employing more than 30-or-so people- but that could easily mean a lot of family owned business, particularly those with more than one location.
And anybody who's ever spent any time in LA can tell you much of the fast food comes from small business owners, the ubiquitous burger and burrito stands, lunch trucks, etc, Quick meals are a huge business in SoCal, but it's not just the national chains -although their presence is substantial- there's a lot of these businesses plus some medium chains unique to the west coast that are legendary (Tommy's, In-and-Out, Carl's Junior, Jack in the Box).
But the small-to-medium outfits will be at a substantial financial disadvantage if they can't match McDonalds' mega-deep-pocketed automation drive-
$15/hr will kill them, not to mention competion from myriad micro-businesses that employ friends/relatives (kids, for free) and/or hire far less than 30 people (on the books), if anybody.
The problem with these heavy socialist moves -like (easy to evade) soak-the-rich taxation attempts- is that it really isn't that difficult for thinking people to avoid hiring lazy, overpriced workers that aren't worth what you're paying them... and it doesn't take a $5M robotic restaurant to do it.
Once the automation industry gets established, these vital (to our economy and society) entry-level jobs -which many of us had for our first employment ever, teaching us how the world worked at 16, 17 years old (as in my own case)- might pretty much disappear from coast-to-coast... how progressive!
See, businessmen with a successful operation didn't get that way by being stupid -a luxury somebody like John Kerry can enjoy, he married his money (and as a Dem, doesn't have to answer for serial ineptitude)... wily entrepreneurs always find a way to end-run unjust ruling class attempts
to bleed them.
Good waitresses -if required- already make $15/hr from tips, so perhaps hiring a full staff there isn't a problem. And for that kind of money, they can bus their own tables.
I might pay fifteen bucks for a good front-end manager plus one quality cook in the back, but they'll have to bring me high-productivity with an advanced, semi-automated one-man kitchen. You can run almost anything with
2-3 people now, really.
The front counter kids aren't needed anymore- touch screen ordering systems are becoming quite commonplace now, and the price is surely coming down, like all tech. There's nothing particularly advanced or complex about them.
A smartphone app taking orders is available for all shops, there's another counter person made redundant.
Look at the typical lunch truck or Manhattan street cart- they serve
almost anything off of a roach coach these days, and they do it all with
1-2 people, everything needed is right at hand... and that's with little automation.
The organization of small-medium fast food shops will quickly evolve to
wring-out all the employees not worth $15/hr... and that's most of them.
It's like Art Laffer said- they ought to call any minimum wage legislation
'The Black Youth Unemployment Act', because that's who's going to be screwed out of a job -by the thousands- in all of the major US cities suffering under ill-advised economic meddling (by people who have zero idea what they're doing).
In a sane world you'd expect a massive backlash pending against those who cost them their jobs... but these 'progressive' city councils will surely blame the evil capitalists for wanting to continue to exist. I suspect they'll then resort to boycotts next (and lazy people on welfare eat a lot of fast food!).
Reagan famously said "Entrepreneurs and small businesses are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States". Amazingly, the left has managed not only to destroy that sort of hiring, but has doomed the future of these entry-level jobs entirely- most fast food positions are as
good as gone already.