Thursday, September 07, 2006

QSRs turn to self-service and automation to combat labor shortage

According to this article at the Dallas Morning News, a shortage of workers is causing some QSRs to more aggressively explore automation and self-service devices (including ordering kiosks). I thought this quote from Hudson Riehle, SVP of Research for the National Restaurant Association, was quite interesting:
"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.

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