Comments about ‘Robots vs. minimum wage: As pressure grows on McDonald's, Applebee's does an end run’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 2:15 p.m. MST

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Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If we don’t destroy ourselves first, it is likely that someday there will be no need for human labor, mental or physical. If you are a religious person who believes in God, it will be called Heaven. If you are not religious about God, the prospects are a little bit iffier but will still come to be.

All my life I have wished that I could see the entrée before ordering. I would like to build my own entrée in the computer before it is actually made. And if my home computer/TV/food synthesizer/3Dprinter is working well, there may not need to be restaurants.

But for now, the requirement of recycling the blood of our economy must occur if we are to survive. Business will have to support all our people either by wages, dividends or TAXES.

Sandy, UT

I do not see automation really taking off in restaurants or in other heavy customer service industries for a couple of reasons.

First of all there is still a large section of the population who will simply not embrace this type of automation. I was behind an older lady that could not figure out Comcast's intake system for handling customers into their store. She was visibly getting upset and I had to show her how to navigate the ipad so she could be sent to the correct help desk.

I have also noticed that Mcdonalds serves a lot of older people for breakfast. Will they embrace automation or simply go somewhere else?

Finally technology is really about convenience and making life easier. Automation might make life easier for the restaurant owner but would the automation really be a convenience for customers?

Why would I?
Farmington, UT

Why would I be surprised to find that the workers killed the goose that laid the golden egg?

That said, I order ala-cart and get a meal for less money with exactly what I want to eat. Then I pay the regular amount and give the wait staff the difference so they get a bigger tip. Sometimes the tip almost equals the price of the food. It makes them smile and after a couple visits they recognize me and I get excellent service. Let someone else keep the lights on, I'm taking care of those who actually help me. If more folks did that, the staff would earn more money and the restaurant wouldn't have to fire anyone or jack their prices through the roof. (They'd probably not let you order that way any more.) Ala-cart has smaller portions, which is better anyway.

Apo, AE

Tablets at Applebee's? No thanks. I don't work for the restaurants. If I can't talk to a person at a business that I'm about to give my hard-earned money to, then that business doesn't need it. If I go out, it's because I want down time. I don't want to have to figure out how to operate a tablet in order to describe a special meal request. That's work--unpaid work. Is Applebee's going to give me a 20% discount on being my own host? I don't think so. Hey Applebee's--want to make a profit? How about doing something with that lousy menu? You know--innovate!!

spring street

"People don’t go into business to create jobs; they go into business to make money. Labor is a cost," Applebee's President Goldberg wrote.

Wait, then why do we keep hearing how we need to worship the rich because they "create jobs?"

Mcallen, TX

How many poor people has the wealthy Obama personally helped get on their feet?

Would be nice if he opened a few hamburger restaurants, and provide some jobs, rather than spending hundreds of millions of our money for vacations, and campaign trips.

I'd buy an Obamaburger.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

I won't use the automatic check-out machine stores at restaurants because it costs jobs. I will not leave a tip at a table where I do the ordering myself on a dirty, germ ridden tablet. If restaurants are going to look at cost-costing, so are the customers. If everyone refused to pay tips, restaurants would be forced to pay more than $2 an hour to get any servers to work for them and unless they can build a Cylon to deliver food,
they are still going to have to get servers.



You apartently missed the quote in the article by the Applebee's owner talking about why people start a business.

MC Squared
Plano, TX

Sorry gang.....Many of the restaurants down here are moving exactly as this article reports. Select your entrees, etc....Wait staff brings our meal, follows up on drinks or other needs and my check is 20% cheaper.....Wave of the future

Sandy, UT

Who should I vote on next election? The Robot?

Floyd Johnson
Broken Arrow, OK

I have enjoyed a couple of meals at a unique restaurant at the Hallmark Center mall in Kansas City. The restaurant has a train theme, but the real draw is the automated food delivery system that runs on a system of rails along the ceiling and down the walls. The concept originated during WWII when labor was unavailable. The system is interesting, fun and the kids love it. Combining that system with a tablet ordering system would probably reduce labor costs by about 1/3.

Some are suggesting that they would not visit an automated restaurant. I say run the experiment and let's see. "You can sit in our new tip free automated section, or you can enjoy our traditional service." As a small business owner I use the night drop to avoid waiting on a teller daily. I happily use the wide open self check-outs at the grocery store rather than wait in line for the worn out cashier. Our local gas station has a full service pump, I have never seen anyone pay the higher rate.

West Jordan, UT

"So are robots a long-term threat to human labor, or an asset to human life?"

Automation is a tremendous asset to factory owners and capitalists. Machines do not demand sick days, holidays, medical care, pay, or pay increases; they only demand minimal care and electricity. Are machines a long term threat to labor? Absolutely and one of the largest threats to labor ever!

If the automation is not mutually owned by the masses of laborers, but remain in the hands of very few capitalists it is a huge menace! Automation provides yet another tool for the 1% to threaten labor and demand that accept take subpar wages and benefits.

As automation becomes more and more persuasive it threatens to completely replace the working class. What will societies do with these surplus laborers? Societies will pacify them with free/cheap bread and circus or they will manufacture global conflicts and wars as a means to eliminate them.

Automation owned in the hands of very few is a deadly seed for the gradual destruction of economic prosperity for the many.

Mcallen, TX

How terrible of people going into business to make money.

Lets all migrate to North Korea, or Cuba.

@Maudine--Wealthy Obama should start hamburger restaurants to make more money once he's out of office. I'd still buy an Obamaburger, but I may not have the money to do it.

Is it a sin to earn money?

Mcallen, TX

This whole problem begins in school.

Many students receive grades, and awards they didn't work for. Teachers water down the grading to avoid a bad evaluation.

Students grow up wanting pay they don't have to work for. Fast food jobs can be learned in a day, and doesn't require much skill, yet the workers want to be paid the same as a skilled worker.

Where's the ambition to work hard?

San Diego
Orem, UT

To Springstreet, Maudine
Goldberg is not the president of Applebee's. He is a columnist who made the comment that people go into business to make a profit, not create jobs. Applebee's president/owner said no such thing.

American Fork, UT

It is perfectly fine and right for people to be motivated to get into business to make money. But what of the people who work for business? Is exploiting them the only real option we can support so as to be in favour of the business owners? How is that moral and right? Have we lost sight of the fact that those that work for business are supposed to be the customers of that business?

Draper, UT


I have worked since I was 10 years old - mowing lawns, paper routes, bus boy, dishwasher, cook, delivery, gas station, janitorial. Graduated from college and started doing, for me, more interesting things like working in finance, operations, sales, marketing.

Never once have I felt exploited. Is it exploiting people to post a job, hire them, agree on a wage and then expect that person to perform a job? No. The only time I ever felt exploited was the summer I worked for the electrical union. Didn't picket or protest. Just resolved I'd never work for another union and changed course.

People need to get rid of the entitlement mentality and stop feeling like victims. This is America. If you don't like your situation, go change it.

Centerville, UT

To strike for a 'fair paying' server job just seems to be aiming low. It used to be that teenagers and young adults took server jobs to get a little spending money. Why would we expect McDonalds to start paying a 'living wage' for a job that was never designed to be a destination?

Safe and clean working conditions? Yes. Demands that the owner of a fast food chain start paying a higher wage? Not so much. It was never meant to be that kind of job. It's a starter position. We all had to do it.

Sugar City, ID

I used my credit card to pay for a dinner in California. I got the card back but shortly after I was contacted by my credit card company indicating there were some suspicious purchases. Sure enough, someone had taken my number and used it. I don't know how they did it but I won't give my credit card to a server anymore. Too bad a few dishonest people can ruin a good thing for a lot of good people. Disgruntled workers are going to make it more difficult for high school kids and college students who need the work and are willing to work for lower pay. While going to college I bagged groceries, swept floors, pumped gas, shoveled manure, etc. at low pay. These jobs are not intended to be full-time careers.

Brigham City, UT

You can live on minimum wage with roommates or family; however, having babies outside of wedlock is the main problem for poverty. So is lack of hope and vision, and addiction and ignorance.

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