"Restaurant operators will purchase technology with more zest because the traditional labor pool growth is not there."
For years, restaurateurs have seen the crop of willing workers – traditionally teens and early twenty-somethings – shrink.
That's due both to shifting birth rates and competition from other employers.
The restaurant industry will need 1.8 million additional workers by 2015, Mr. Riehle predicts. That compares with 3.5 million in health care, which often pays more.
While many of us think of labor shortages and automatically imply skilled labor, for QSRs the case is quite the opposite, since low-wage unskilled work is critical to the operations of practically all fast-food chains.