Opinion

Obama-donor CEO of Panera Bread: Raise the minimum wage, because I'm replacing cashiers with robots, anyway

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Minimum Wage

Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich is one of those "responsible" corporate executives. You know, the kind who give $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, and support a higher minimum wage. The Economist reported late last year:

Ron Shaich, the boss of Panera, a chain of 1,800 eateries, is an exception in the industry; he backs an increase in the minimum wage so long as it applies to everyone.

My question: Will Shaich pay $10.10 an hour to the kiosks he plans to install in every Panera in America? Businessweek tells that at the coffee and sandwich shop, you'll soon be ordering through a touch-screen kiosk. Shaich insists this won't lead to downsizing: Panera will have fewer cashiers but more employees running the food to customers' tables. We'll see.

I've written before about companies like Costco and Walmart supporting hikes in the minimum wage, knowing this will adversely affect their smaller competitors.

P.S. One angle Shaich may not be considering: When the computers rise up against the capitalists, then we're really in trouble.

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