Fast-food restaurant Wendy’s is reportedly looking to replace counter workers with self-serve, touch-screen kiosks inside nearly 6,000 of its stores this year.
Wendy’s wouldn’t be the first restaurant to toy with replacing humans with machines. But according to Investor’s Business Daily, it’s the first to specifically cite the recent push for higher wages among fast-food workers as the primary reason.
With the new kiosks, Wendy’s customers can place their orders and pay on a touch screen inside the restaurant instead of talking to a human being behind the counter. Panera Bread also is testing kiosks. McDonald’s has debuted them in some areas.
Some of the Wendy’s kiosks are already being tested. The company is also trying out mobile payment options for customers.
This is hardly the first round of innovative tools struggling fast-food restaurants have come up with in recent years.
It started with 24-hour drive-throughs. Now you can order a pizza by tweeting the pizza emoji at Domino’s. KFC equipped food trays with Bluetooth-enabled mats in Germany so customers could use their phones without getting the screen greasy. Pizza Hut once turned cardboard pizza boxes into makeshift movie projectors, which came with a detachable lens in the middle of the box and a QR code customers could scan to play a free movie.