A few months ago, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder suggested that raising minimum wages for fast food workers would be harmful for job entry, that "Millennials like not seeing people," and that fast food workers could one day be replaced by machines.
Needless to say, these comments drew a lot of criticism from those who thought that the outspoken CEO had gone a little too far in his musings, especially at a time when fast food workers are just beginning to earn decent hourly wages and national chains are struggling to understand Millennial buying habits.
Well, now it seems that ol' Andy may have been vindicated on some, if not all, of these points. According to a recent survey by Frisch's Restaurants Inc., an Ohio-based company that owns 120 Big Boy franchises, almost one third of Millennials aged 18 to 24 opt for drive-thru not because of efficiency, but because "they don't feel like dealing with people."
Still, 59 percent of those surveyed responded that they appreciated being asked about how their day is going—perhaps reinforcing the notion that Millennials have a tendency to be self-absorbed—but 38 percent also said they don't like being asked if they want to order additional items.
The survey was undertaken to better understand drive-thru buying habits, with the express purpose of attracting apparently misanthropic Millennials. Based on these findings, Big Boy created a line of "car-friendly" items like their Hog Heaven burrito which contains sausage, bacon, egg, cheese, and hash browns. "Now that school is back in session, we developed these new breakfast burritos to give busy families a fresh way to eat on the go," Frisch's CEO Jason Vaughn said in a statement.
With such a big chunk of the population opting out of human interaction, it's also not a surprise that fast food chains are experimenting with automated service, which will cost them way less than paying a cashier $15 per hour. And while that might make good business sense, from a shareholder's perspective, it's unlikely that fast food CEOs earning six- and seven-digit salaries will want to experiment with robot executives.