Wendy's considers replacing workers with kiosks

Posted at 5:28 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 20:28:13-04

California's minimum wage is on its way up to $15 an hour by 2022.

Some businesses appear to be acting in response - they can pass the costs to customers through higher prices or replace workers with machines where possible. 

The fast food industry was the focal point of the Fight for $15, which led to Gov. Jerry Brown to recently sign the wage bill. Fast food chains are moving toward automation through self-ordering kiosks. 

They're already in some San Diego Jack in the Box and McDonald's restaurants. Now, Wendy's is making a move toward replacing man with machine.

In an earnings call this month, company president Todd Penegor said the self-ordering machines would be made available at its 6,000-plus restaurants. Whether to actually install them is up to individual franchisees, and Investor's Business Daily reports that all 256 restaurants in California are locally owned.

"I don't like that," said Analaura Negrete, a San Diegan who eats at Wendy's. "I would rather pay more money and have somebody have a job. Those are people that have families."

A manager at the Wendy's on El Cajon Boulevard referred questions to the regional corporate office. The office has not responded to requests for comment.