Widespread touchscreen ordering to come to NYC fast food restaurants by next year?


The Wall Street Journal reports that, on Wednesday, as predicted, the panel convened by Governor Cuomo to study fast-food wages will formally recommend paying workers statewide $15 an hour — a substantial raise that’s nearly double the current rate of $8.75. The only step left is an okay from Acting Labor Commissioner Mario Musolino (which he’s expected to give), and then Cuomo can move forward (which there’s every indication he will) regardless of how the Legislature feels about it. So it looks likely that a big raise will come to New York’s fast-food workers.

…Briefly. Because the actual minimum wage is zero. Seriously, the franchisees are screwed*. So is anybody who gets defined as being ‘fast-food.’ But you know who will benefit? Fast-food restaurants that are directly owned by a corporation or family, which means that they are more likely to be able to open up new stores with the automation already built-in. Because the only reason that we don’t see more automation now is because it’s still cheaper to use human beings.  Make human beings more expensive, and, well…

Moe Lane

*The WSJ got a please-don’t-call-me-a-progressive economist to argue that “The industry likely could accommodate the higher wage, he said, with prices and sales increasing only at their current rate, since the new wage likely would help reduce costly turnover and boost productivity.” Because doubling somebody’s pay encourages them do twice as much work. …And I am Marie of Romania.

7 thoughts on “Widespread touchscreen ordering to come to NYC fast food restaurants by next year?”

  1. I’ve noticed Starbucks and Subway now offer “order ahead” apps for mobile devices, where you can do your order online, and (presumably) just walk in, pay for and pick up your order, and be on your way.


    So this is already happening.

    1. Actually, now that I think if it, I assume part of the online ordering process could easily include paying for the order, so all you’d have to do is walk in, provide a transaction ID to pick up your order, and be on your way.


      > doubling somebody’s pay encourages them do twice as much work.


      Yeah, I gotta wonder what dream world this guy’s living in. Especially in the case where wages have a legally mandated minimum, what this mostly encourages is working just hard enough to not get fired.

      1. Yep, especially since that Starbucks app is going to be on the same iPhone as the ApplePay app …
        This does generate one very nice side effect for parents of college students .. the Pizza Hut app will let parents pay for junior’s pizza without having to call the shop and read a card number over the phone..

      2. Problem is, you still have a *human* touching your food, with room for plenty to go wrong via your choice of mistake or mischief.

        “OH, those are hot peppers? I’m sorry, I thought I had the pickle tub…”

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