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Wendy’s Installing Self-ordering Kiosks at 1,000 Locations

February 27, 2017

In an effort to save on labor costs and increase efficiency, fast-food chain Wendy’s will install self-ordering kiosks in about 1,000 of its locations in the United States.

According to David Trimm, a spokesman for the Ohio-based company, franchises that want the kiosks will, on average, install three of them, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported.

"They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it," said Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. "They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk."

The company says it will see a return on the investment in kiosks within two years.

The company said the kiosks could help ease crowding during peak demand. For those who prefer ordering from a human, there will still be staff available to take orders, according to the Associated Press.

The kiosks have already been tested at Wendy’s stores in central Ohio.

Wendy’s is not the first retailer to explore self-ordering kiosks, as convenience store Wawa rolled them out in 2012.

The longevity of the kiosks, however, is unclear. Tristano says they may find themselves out of a job as ordering and payment move to smartphones.

The prospect of machines putting humans out of work is a controversial topic. The French presidential candidate from the Socialist Party has suggested a tax on machines that put humans out of work.

That idea has found support from Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.

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