Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Robots Will Beat the Minimum Wage: Panera Bread Replacing Some Cashiers With Kiosks

A Panera kiosk.
As the loony left continues to think it can increase minimum wages without increasing unemployment (SEE: Barbara Lee Wants A $26 Minimum Wage), businesses continue to expand their "automation over employees" operations. The latest is Panera bread.

Panera is going to be cutting down on the number of cashiers in a new store design, reports Consumerist.com.

Panera spent $42 million on the technology involved. In other words, the higher minimum wage is is making the cost benefit analysis much more favorable for firms, despite the sizable up front costs of automation.

(ht Rick Fitz)


  1. If the choice is automation technology or caving to he Cheap Labor lobbies, count me with the robots!

  2. Thanks for the H/T Bob.

    The fact that sub-moronic tools like Krugman and Lee cannot see that higher minimum wages are destroying low-wage jobs makes me sad.

    Those kids will never learn any job skills, and therefore become wastrels and parasites demanding the government support them.

  3. At first it seemed a shame that Seattle's minimum wage increase is so gradual. Must we wait until 2017 for the results of that experiment?

    Not necessarily. Panera and countless others will beat them to the punch. Wouldn't it be amusing if all of the sub-$15/hr jobs went away in advance of the legislation.

  4. Cue the Luddites. Forward!

  5. From what I calculate, if the investment is spread evenly over their 1777 locations (which, admittedly, is improbable), they only have to save one $15/hr employee for 1576 hours (about 3/4 of a man year) at each location to pay for the investment within the first year.

  6. A lot of people in technology circles support the increased minimum wage because they know that it will result in faster automation of lower wage jobs.

    Cheap rates from the Fed also helps with costs.

  7. I have a job at panera right now, sucks that they never thought to mention this to us. real classy.

  8. Anonymous... are you paid minimum wage? I suspect not and suspect that very few, if any, of Panera's employees make minimum wage. I don't doubt that an increase in minimum wage will increase unemployment. However, this move by Panera may only be catering to a preference by consumers to deal with a touch screen than a human. It may have nothing to do with the minimum wage and only little to do with wages at all.

    1. It's probably both/and not either/or. Add in perhaps more reliable and consistent order entry, etc. and you have the whole picture. But there's little doubt that increases in the minimum wage are making the cost/benefit trade-off more appealing for the kiosk solution. It's certainly accelerating the changeover.