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This Fast Food CEO Wants to Replace Workers With Robots

Andy Puzder, President of CKE Restaurants at a Carls Jr. Restaurant in Carpinteria with a turkey buAndy Puzder, President of CKE Restaurants at a Carls Jr. Restaurant in Carpinteria with a turkey bu
Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.Photograph by Al Seib—LA Times via Getty Images

CEO of CKE Restaurants Andy Puzder wants to take humans out of the fast food equation.

The Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent company could soon implement an employee-free operation as Puzder told Business Insider, “I want to try it.” The chief executive was inspired by Eatsa, a restaurant that employs just a handful of kitchen workers while all front-of-house procedures are computerized—you can go in without seeing a single human being.

Because the restaurant employs few people, it can afford to invest in healthier food options. According to Inside Scoop SF, a quinoa bowl reminiscent of Chipotle costs just $6.95 and is a substantial size. “We could have a restaurant that’s focused on all-natural products and is much like Eatsa,” Puzder told BI—though Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s aren’t exactly best known for their healthy, all-natural options. “You order on a kiosk, you pay with a credit or debit card, your order pops up, and you never see a person.”

Though some might worry this would provide an impersonal experience, Puzder argues that that’s the draw. “Millennials like not seeing people,” he said. “I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”

Puzder has previously written op-eds speaking out against raising the minimum wage. He argues that it would put a lot of people out of work saying, “Does it really matter if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?” But in Puzder’s ideal scenario, neither Sally nor Suzie would have a job. “If you’re making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive—this is not rocket science.”

Additionally, Puzder would never have to worry about an employee lawsuit again. Machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”