Red Robin burger

  • Jack in the Box is considering swapping some cashiers with robots to save money as minimum wage rises.
  • Red Robin is also cutting positions, with plans to save $8 million in 2018 by eliminating bus boys.
  • “As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense” to consider adding new automated technology, Jack in the Box’s CEO said.

Minimum wage increases are sending shock waves across the fast-food industry.

On Tuesday, Jack in the Box’s CEO said the fast-food chain is considering swapping some cashiers with robots as the minimum wage rises in California.

“As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense” to consider adding new automated technology, CEO Leonard Comma said Tuesday at the ICR Conference.

Jack in the Box previously tested technology such as kiosks, and found they resulted in a higher average check and helped with efficiency. However, Comma said, installing the kiosks was too great of a financial investment — at least until now, as minimum wages are rising.

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box wasn’t the only fast-food chain to announce it was considering cutting employees as minimum wages increase.

Burger chain Red Robin announced on Monday that the chain estimates it will save $8 million this year by eliminating bus boys from restaurants. The West Coast-centric chain said it already saved almost $10 million by cutting expediters, the people who plate the food in the kitchen, The New York Post reported.

“Probably the most challenging thing we’re facing in the industry right now is labor costs,” Red Robin CFO Guy Constant said.

Minimum wages are increasing in 18 states in 2018, including California and Washington, where Jack in the Box and Red Robin are respectively based.

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