Labour should read this since they are talking about the Future of Work

Want to know why automation is replacing menial jobs?

Labour want to know…as they have their Ten Big bumper sticker slogans and attempt to find out why it is that automation is going to replace every job.

They should read the Wall Street Journal article about restaurant automation and wonder no more about why it is people are being replaced.

Consumer preferences, reduced technology costs and government policies that increase labor costs are driving a trend toward automation in the restaurant business. If you make something more convenient and less expensive, it tends to catch on.

As recently as the 1960s, gas-station employees would rush to fill your car’s tank, wash the windows, check the oil and put air in the tires. Telephone operators made your long-distance calls and bank tellers cashed your checks. Those jobs now are either gone or greatly diminished.

Today, we reduce jobs whenever we shop on Amazon instead of our local retail outlet, use an Uber app rather than calling a cab dispatcher, order a pizza online, use an airport kiosk to print boarding passes, or scan groceries. Each of these changes in behavior has increased convenience and reduced labor costs—and competitive businesses pass the savings to their customers.

In the restaurant business, the increasing impact of technology doesn’t mean that a robot will soon roll up to your table and say, “Hi, I’m Trudi4783. I’ll be your automated server today.” But technology can replace certain functions. Touch screens are already transforming the way food is ordered in many restaurants.

In late 2013, Chili’s and Applebee’s announced that they were installing more than 100,000 tableside tablets at their restaurants across the country, allowing customers to order and pay their bill without ever talking to a waiter. The companies were soon followed by Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera Bread, Olive Garden and dozens of others. This means fewer servers covering more tables. Quick-service restaurant chains are also testing touch-screen ordering.

Why is this happening?

The major reason is consumer preference. Research shows that many appreciate the speed, order accuracy, and convenience of touch screens. This is particularly so among millennials who already do so much on smartphones and tablets. I’ve watched people—young and old—waiting in line to use the touch screens while employees stand idle at the counter.

But there is another reason…one Labour should take heed of.

The other reason is costs. While the technology is becoming much cheaper, government mandates have been making labor much more expensive.

In 2015, 14 cities and states approved $15 minimum wages—double the current federal minimum. Additionally, four states, 20 cities and one county now have mandatory paid-sick-leave laws generally requiring a paid week of time off each year per covered employee. And then there’s the Affordable Care Act, which further raises employer costs.

Dramatic increases in labor costs have a significant effect on the restaurant industry, where profit margins are pennies on the dollar and labor makes up about a third of total expenses. As a result, restaurants are looking to reduce costs while maintaining service and food quality.

Remember that next time you hear a socialist clamouring for the “Living Wage”.

[A] new restaurant chain called Eatsa has almost completely automated food service, from ordering to handoff (back-of-the-house employees to prepare the food). It’s not really a new idea—Eatsa is a digital upgrade of the automat restaurants that had a long run of popularity in many U.S. cities beginning about a century ago. Based on my visit to the Eatsa restaurant in San Francisco—there is another in Los Angeles—it has a modern and clean feel, and a strong millennial customer base that is responding well to the restaurant with the slogan “Better, Faster Food.”

It isn’t a coincidence that this concept arose in San Francisco, which for years has had one of the country’s highest minimum wages and some of the nation’s most business-burdening labor regulations. The result: Since the recession ended, median family income in San Francisco has increased to about $78,000 from $70,000, but the poverty rate increased to 13.3% from 11.5%. So some in San Francisco are making more money, but more people are living in poverty. Why?

Part of the problem is that those with technical skills make good livings, while those who don’t have those skills are being priced out of entry-level jobs.

The low-labor Eatsa concept may be a harbinger of the future. If consumers prefer it, or if government-mandated labor-cost increases drive prices too high, the traditional full-service restaurant model, like those old gas stations with the employees swarming over your car, could well become a thing of the past.

So, stupid restrictive labour laws, militant unions, massive hikes in minimum wages and coercive government are actually costing people their jobs. Yet the left-wing would have you believe that unionism saves jobs. Well, not in my experience.

Labour won’t come up with any solutions because a key component of their “Future of Work Commission” is being driven by people who represent the indolent and the below average…unions. They never seek or strive for excellence, they represent and promote the lowest common denominator.

Idiot unions, stupid politicians and ignorant voters have condemned workers to unemployment. Enjoy your burgers and thank the unions for the quick, impersonal service that delivered it.

 

-Wall Street Journal


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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