So Much For The McDonalds Jobs Renaissance: Burger Maker To "Hire" Computers Going Forward

Tyler Durden's picture

If nothing else, last month's 62,000 minimum wage, part time-job expansion program by McDonalds generated lots of commentary on whether it should or should not be counted in the April NFP number. While paying a bunch of janitors (sub) minimum wage will have precisely 0.00% impact on GDP, the possibility that America could convert even more full-time into part-time jobs, generating a few more press opportunities for the teleprompter was certainly bullish, sure generated a lot of contradictory blog posts. Alas, even paying minimum wage appears to be too much of a chore for the world's largest burger chain. Enter computers. From Fox Biz: "McDonald's is jumping on the technology bandwagon with a new system that will soon change the way European customers order food -- picture computers instead of humans asking whether customers prefer fries and supersizes. The fast-food restaurant, known for its golden arches, Big Mac burgers and Happy Meals, will replace cashiers with touch-screen terminals and swipe cards at its 7,000 chain restaurants in Europe, according to the Financial Times. That would mean, in part, the end of cash payments." Also picture no more millions of job applicants for something, anything at the Golden Arches. And like that another several million of America's lower class are about to become outsourced to robots.

From Fox:

In addition to the digital screens, McDonald's will stay open longer, modernize its stores and introduce new menus in an effort to attract tech-dependent, spend-wary and health-conscious consumers. McDonalds will be able to better track customer order trends and hone in on the most popular foods while cutting back on millions in staff costs.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company has been growing in Europe despite many of its rivals’ sluggishness, posting a 6% improvement in year-over-year sales at its more established stores in April and booking stronger growth in the region than it did in the U.S.

McDonalds has been implementing several global initiatives in an effort to keep sales high, introducing oatmeal, fruit and coffee  options on U.S. menus in an effort to attract health-conscious customers and those looking for an affordable breakfast, while modernizing its facilities around the world and adding free Wi-Fi services for the modern laptop and tablet user.

In an interview with the London-based publication, McDonald’s president of Europe, Steve Easterbrook, said the new process would change a traditional system that has been in place for 30 to 40 years.

The changes, he said, would improve efficiency and smooth the ordering process for customers by making average transactions three to four seconds shorter than traditional methods.

And just like reprofiling is now a pretty word (even if it means very ugly things), so "efficiency" is and continues to be the good ole' "synergies" also known as mass layoffs.

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TheTmfreak's picture

Subway already does this. Funny because that was what Subway used to be known for. (Interacting with your sandwich "Artist")

Their food sucks now. Not surprisingly.

Left Right Wrong's picture

Have you guys ever been to an international McDonalds?  Incredibly different experience, not just for a tourist like me but for all of the local people too.  I was trying to party in Morocco one time and the most popular damn place was the McDonalds!  There was a live band in the back, everyone was on their laptops for the free WiFi, it was well lit, exceptionally clean, and offered a nice respite from 24/7 Moroccan food (plus the golden arch fez on the cashier was just adorable).  However, had to go to an underground place to secure myself a nice G&T.


Much different experience in America though.

Oh regional Indian's picture

It's true here in India. In fact some of the fancier ones (McD's) have doormen! i near fell flat on my face when I saw that. And some of their Indianised food is supposedly tasty even.

BUt it's all machine food now. With electronic cashiers, more so than ever.

We're becoming borgs in ways we don't even realize.


vxpatel's picture

it's funny to watch the 'indian shining upper middle class crowd' pay top INR for white trash dining...Pizza Hut, Subway , Dominoes, KFC etc...

Oh regional Indian's picture

Too true. People actually dress up to for "dinner" to these places. 


aerojet's picture

Well, Indian food is good and all, but try eating it 24/7 and you, too, would enjoy the typical American "slumming" experience.  If they only knew, though...

aerojet's picture

Well, Indian food is good and all, but try eating it 24/7 and you, too, would enjoy the typical American "slumming" experience.  If they only knew, though...

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Unfortunately the I have not left the Amerikant prison except for Canada eh.  America, Canada's Mexico.

ElvisDog's picture

It's funny (to me anyway) that McDonalds is trying to become the Starbucks of fast food. People tell me their coffee is good too.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

I love diarrhea as much as the next guy, but I find it hard to eat their garbage since Ronald put his hands out to the taxpayer as well. 

Think about how much better the world would be without the taxpayer propping up the undesirables of this world. 

Just thinking about this gave me a chubby.

serotonindumptruck's picture

I generally make a conscious decision to never eat the infectious waste that is served at this particular establishment, however I did order a meal from MD while visiting Rotterdam back in '87. I only knew a few words of Dutch, so the ordering process was a bit confusing. I think I still have the receipt in a souvenir box somewhere. I'm not sure exactly why I decided to keep it.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Has anyone noticed that Timothy "Eraser Head" Geithner looks considerably like the creepy original McDonald's Hamburgler? 

Ahmeexnal's picture

So the much touted McHiring was nothing more than an act. Hypocrisy.

Speaking of hypocrisy, the Governator, who used any and all oportunnities to attack illegal mexican aliens has just admitted that he has a half mexican son:


Donald Trump no go in 2012.

Terminator no go in 2012.


Derpin USA's picture

Arnold can't be president. He wasn't born in Kenya.

American Sucker's picture

Now?  Their food was always terrible.

Rainman's picture

agree....if you could eat a picture of the burger you're supposed to get maybe it would taste better.

Copper slang for a burger and fries is gut bomb and a sack of snakes. They are major consumers.

max2205's picture

Sooo, now they will fire those 50,000 people they just hired last month? or was it last week. These Corp boys need a PR Road Map

sun tzu's picture

In most major America cities, a good chunk of the population is illiterate (47% illiteracy in Detoilet). Those people are the customer base for McDonalds. Dumbed down food for a dumbed down population

Doode's picture

It was inevitable with the advent of both Asimo and Watson. They will merge those together and make them cheap in about 10 years and then first 10% then 20% then 50% of the labor force will become unemployable within another decade or so. Fun times are coming!

topcallingtroll's picture


There are always potential jobs available for everyone. Legal liability and regulatory barriers cause unemployment.

Derpin USA's picture

Yeah, because people who make $7/hour are living like kings. Let's cut it in half so we can magically claim unemployment is lower. Damn those OSHA requirements for a safe work environment. Just faggy liberal red tape that makes good, white businessmen cry into their pillows at night.

sun tzu's picture

Those blue-eyed devils always keepin the brothas down. 

Doode's picture

Heh, I have been working for years on the forefront of making people absolete. I am saying that a new societal order will be required because there will be virtually 0 humans employed in services/manufacturing fields. Most clerical and even a lot of white color jobs will not be outsourced, but permanently replacedwith machines as well. I would say you will start seeing it in the next 10 years culminating in about 20-30 years from now.

theopco's picture

Oh we're already seeing it. The fact is that we only need a small fraction of the populace to produce everything anyone might need or want. The vast majority of people today are doing make-work jobs, even now. Pushing paper selling paper- corporate and government bureaucrats. The trend will continue. In the end, once we find a way to adjust to this reality, it could be a good thing. But we are living in the past, and there will be great pain until we change the nature of our hierarchies.

In the middle ages, it took the peasantry about 10 hours of labor a week to provide for themselves and their masters. Something to think about.

sun tzu's picture

The homeless will purchase the millions of cars and electronic gadgets produced by the machines and robots.

In reality, there are a few jobs that robots and computers can't do. Construction, maintenance and repairs on machinery, medical field, fine dining, farming, etc. 

buzzard's picture

Farming... now there's a thought. Why don't we all become farmers before the rush?

sun tzu's picture

I guess farming is beneath the elites like you. How about construction? Electrician? Plumbing? There will still be jobs, but not enough for 6 billion people. 

aka_ces's picture

For a long time the advent of robots was supposed to free all humanity to a life of leisure.  Perhaps the actual has something to do w/ concentration of wealth and of ownership of capital ?

carbonmutant's picture

Who needs robots if you have a cell phone and a vending machine?

NumberNone's picture

Without people, who videos the transgender beatdowns? 

StychoKiller's picture

I'm reminded of the Nutrimatic™ Drink Machine from the Sirius Cybernetics® Corp...

SwingForce's picture

Good luck with that, people are too stupid to know The Benbernank is killing them, you think they can order a happy meal on their own? Where's the NO PICKLES button? Ha.

blunderdog's picture

This is what I was thinking.  Half the customers don't know what they want after waiting on line for 10 minutes, don't see a self-order line helping that.

On the other hand, it could eliminate the half-hour delays that always result from someone being handed their bag and saying, "Hey!  I ordered pies, not fries!"

StychoKiller's picture

It's right next to the 'Any' key...

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Already happening at Home Depots, too, with self-checkout. 


bob_dabolina's picture

Walmart has self-checkout and many other places.

Soon to be replaced:

Gas station attendants

Wouldn't surprise me if the BLS adds jobs done by computers to the labor statistics to put some really rosey lipstick on this pig.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Gas station attendants have already gone the way of the dodo bird unless you live in NJ. Or are you talking about the person inside the convenience store that sells gas to get you to buy the coffee and muffins?

bob_dabolina's picture

If you add a cash feature at the pump to accompany the credit/debit feature and replace the convenience store attendant with a vending machine type machine then you have eliminated those jobs right there.

You might need a guy to come by periodically to facilitate restocking/refueling.

tmosley's picture

That is tremendously capital intensive.  Raise the minimum wage a few more time and that might happen.  Further, the likelihood of vandalism destroying said capital would be too high for most convenience store owners to handle.  Further, beer and wine sales would be difficult or impossible without human judgement.

bob_dabolina's picture

Capital Intensive?

In the first year you would be saving $15,080 in a state with a minimum wage of $7.25 p/h. A state where it is higher, let's say where min wage is $8 p/h you are saving $16,000. This assumes 1 employee working a typical 40 hour week.

Over the course of 10 years you will save (with the conservative $7.25 p/h) roughly (not taking into account future min wage increases over a 10 year period) $150,000. And that is PER employee, which many stations have several employees on the pay roll and stay open 24/7. Like I said that $150,000 is for 1 employee working a standard 40 hour work week.

What is more captial intensive?

Sgt.Sausage's picture

==> In the first year you would be saving $15,080


You'd be saving quite a bit more than that. Employer share of SS and Medicare, worker's comp, unemployment, and all the various other expenses, on top of the $15 KiloBucks in salary.

tmosley's picture

Have you ever been inside of a convenience store?  We're not talking about one or two vending machines here, but DOZENS.  You would need machines for coffee, machines for doughnuts, machines for candy (easy), drinks (easy), bread, milk, plates, plastic cutlery, motor oil, window washing fluid, etc, etc, etc.  How many hundreds of thousands of dollars would that number of vending machines cost?  

And again, how many are going to be destroyed each year by vandals?

If it was cheap and easy to do, it would have been done already.  Automated checkout works in grocery stores and fast food restaurants because there are other employees there.  In a convenience store, the attendant does everything from providing security, to cleaning the bathrooms to making change to restocking.  Might be able to get away with cutting down on the number of people at larger convenience stores, but you are going to need SOMEONE there, for security if nothing else.

blunderdog's picture

Make the entrance/exit an armored airlock mechanism, and keep the customers under surveillance.  When the system detects vandalism, just seal the perpetrator in the airlock as he leaves, gas him into unconsciousness, and send a security-bot by to scoop him up and drop him into an onboard wood-chipper.

Sure maybe it's capital-intensive, but it would be efficient.  And anyway, they can just print more money or something.

StychoKiller's picture

Where's a RoboCop® when ya need one? :>D

sun tzu's picture

It won't happen. The majority of convenience store profits come from alcohol and tobacco sales. You can't sell those from a vending machine.