Schmidt says no automation for Wendy’s this year

Area Wendy’s fans won’t be seeing those new automated kiosks anytime soon, but the local Wendy’s owners are well aware of their existence and they will make them possible for future use.

It is all the result of the minimum wage issue in which California and New York raised the minimum wage to $15. Many people thought conservatives were crying wolf when they said minimum wage hikes would cause automation in the fast food industry as well as layoffs, but such a move is in on the horizon.

Last Thursday (May 12), the Wendy’s chain announced plans to make self-serving kiosks available in Wendy’s stores across the country by the end of the year.

“We know it’s there,” Scott Schmidt of the Schmidt Family Restaurant Group told The Daily Times. “We know it’s available. Have we given it consideration? Yes, but we’re not committed to that this year. No, I won’t even say that it’s on the radar at this time, but during the remodels that we’re doing to the stores we just acquired, we’re accommodating the wiring and everything we’re going to need for that down the road if we so choose to do that.”

Schmidt said he is still keeping an eye on what is happening in the fast food industry.

“We’re kind of watching a little bit and I guess we’re not any different from anyone else,” Schmidt said. “We’re watching the minimum wage. We’ve already cut crews back now because of that over the last couple of years. Those are the next steps.”

Schmidt said the technology is in the early testing stages.

“They already have automatic grills and they’re definitely looking at the labor force because of the minimum wage,” Schmidt said. “Right now we’re still in a labor pool that we feel like we can still get by without doing it.”

Wendy’s has 6,000 locations nationwide and only about 10 percent are company owned.

On Dec. 28, 2015, Justin “Juice” Schmidt and Scott Schmidt of the Schmidt Family Restaurant Group, whose headquarters is located in Portsmouth, completed the acquisition of 25 company-owned Wendy’s restaurants in the Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia market. The franchise previously owned and operated 14 restaurants across Ohio and West Virginia.

Wendy’s owner says automated options are on the table

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.