Bethany Biron
April 24, 2016 10:48 am
Twitter

Got a hankering for a McCafe? Now you may be able to skip the line at McDonald’s and serve one up yourself, if a trial kiosk spotted in downtown Chicago catches on.

The self-serve coffee machine, which features a touch-screen ordering system, includes “lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos that are customizable with various flavoring, types of milk, and amount of espresso,” according to Eater.

While at first blush it seems like a smart tech venture for the popular fast food chain, others are worried it’s an effort to outsource jobs in response to ongoing changes to minimum wage policy.

Fast food workers demanded a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights as part of series of strikes that swept 270 cities across the nation last fall, according to Info Wars. Many of these efforts have been successful, including most recently in the state of California, which reached an agreement at the end of last month to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 in response to outcries from the worker group, Fight for $15.

However, transitioning to self-serve machines, or even more futuristic projects like a robot developed by a San Francisco start-up that emulates a fast food worker, may also threaten jobs. As restaurant owners struggle to make ends meet to account for higher wages, many are enticed by the prospect of utilizing technology to replace employees.

McDonald’s certainly hasn’t been the first to test self-serve kiosks in an effort to accelerate service and improve efficiency. Other companies adopting the model include Panera, Chili’s, Applebee’s and IHOP, Eater reported.

At this point it’s tough to say what the future of fast food will look like, but if it means cutting jobs for thousands of people in need of employment, it’s probably better for us to keep waiting in line.

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