Panera CEO Supports Raising Minimum Wage, Replacing Cashiers with Computers

Panera Bread Co. CEO Ron Shaich  / AP

Panera Bread Co. CEO Ron Shaich / AP

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Panera Bread CEO Rob Shaich, a Democratic donor and minimum wage supporter, recently announced that he will be replacing cashiers with computers.

Shaich, who donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, said he wanted the minimum wage raised as long as it applied equally to all, according to Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner.

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.