While most of us had Monday off for Labor Day, some people still clocked in.
For example, the state of California signed an interesting bill into law.
The FAST Recovery Act aims to lift quick-serve restaurant (QSR) employees by guaranteeing a $22-per-hour minimum wage in what is being lauded as one of the most significant bits of labor legislation in our nation’s history.
While those fighting for the rights of workers applauded the bill’s passing, the response was understandably mixed.
Among those most upset are – to what should come as no surprise – the restaurant operators themselves.
Not long after the minimum wage was raised $15 an hour, something broadly fought by the industry, these additional rate hikes threaten to further cut into the bottom line.
For what it’s worth, this law pertains to QSRs (read: fast food) that are part of a chain (clowns, kings, chihuahuas, colonels, etc.), do not offer table service (or only in a limited capacity), and where customers pay before eating.
You may be wondering why we’re talking about this. After all, you won’t see McDonald’s opening a Reg CF raise anytime soon.
It’s because proponents argue that the result will be sweeping legislative changes across every state in America, thereby ushering in a new era of fast-food labor.
And because, the reality is, this bill might not create the intended effect.
Even before the prospect of $22-per-hour wages, these operators were grappling with the reality of a labor crisis. The quit rate among hospitality workers was more than twice as high as the national industry average. The number of restaurant employees in the U.S. dropped by 2.2 million between 2019 and 2020.
While this should provide an influx in demand for these positions, at their new cost, it could be a losing proposition for the businesses themselves.
As a result, the real impact of this legislation could be an accelerated timeline… elsewhere.
Bubbling under the surface of the QSR – and overall “R” industry – is the forthcoming automation revolution.
While there is still some distance to go until these automated solutions are affordable enough for widespread adoption, there are already a host of them in American kitchens today.
And these cost-cutting developments are underway as we speak.
Following California’s announcement – and its expected impact on other states – the demand for these solutions is sure to skyrocket.
So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for startups addressing this need. There are going to be some big winners.