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McDonald’s ex-CEO suggests replacing employees with robots to cut costs

McDonald's is facing an unprecedented backlash from its employees over its view on increasing the minimum wage

The firm’s US ex-boss Ed Rensi, warned that if the minimum wage is raised to $15 (£10) an hour, then McDonald’s may decide to replace its workers with robots.

CEO of McDonald’s US in the 1990’s, Rensi stated that if the minimum wage rose to $15 an hour, it would “cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe”. Despite an increase in sales for three quarters in a row, McDonald’s has been reluctant to increase the minimum wage.

“I was at the National Restaurant Show and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries — it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe,” Rensi told Fox Business.

He added: “It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster.”

The Fight for $15 movement has focused most of its attention on organising protests targeting McDonald’s. Although California and New York have already legalised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the Guardian reported that members of Fight for $15 said they will continue to fight until all workers across the US earn $15 an hour.

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