McDonald’s CEO Doesn’t See $15 Hourly Wage, Robots Killing Jobs


Steve Easterbrook, the chief executive officer of McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) stated that they will not probably replace workers with robots even if the company will have to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Easterbrook made the statement during the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. According to him, he doesn’t see the $15 hourly minimum wage or robots as risk to job elimination. He pointed out that McDonald’s is in the service business and it will “always have an important human element.”

Approximately 1,000 fast-food workers and their supporters are protesting outside the headquarters of McDonald’s during the annual meeting. The protesters are demanding for higher wages and benefits, and they part of the “Fight for $15” movement.

One of the protesters, Naquasia LeGrand, a swing manager at McDonald’s from North Carolina, said, “This comes down to holding McDonald’s accountable for keeping workers in poverty.”

McDonald’s on “Fight for $15” protests

In response to the Fight for $15 protest, McDonald’s spokesperson Lisa Comb, said the company is serious in its role in helping strengthen communities.

According to her,” Every year, we and our franchisees separately employ hundreds of thousands of people, providing many with their very first job. We offer McDonald’s employees the opportunity to develop the valuable skills and work ethic necessary to build successful careers even beyond our restaurants.”

She added that the management raised salaries for all employees at company-owned restaurants to $1 dollar above the local minimum wage. Employees were also given the opportunity to ear paid time off. McDonald’s also invested in Archways to Opportunity, a set of programs for everyone that provides free high school completion courses and college tuition assistance.

$15 hourly minimum wage will lead to a robotic revolution

Restaurants will be compelled to replace workers with kiosks and robots if the $15 hourly minimum wage would take effect, according to current and former fast-food executives.

On Tuesday, Ed Rensi, a former CEO of McDonalds suggested that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would result in a “job loss like you can’t believe.” He emphasized that it is “cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee” bagging French fries inefficiently but making $15 an hour.  He believes that an increase in minimum wage will set into motion a robotic revolution in the United States.

MasterCard (NYSE:MA) recently partnered with Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia to deploy Pepper, the first humanoid robot with emotions from Softbank Group (TYO:9984), to interact with customers, take their orders, accept payments using MasterPass.