WATCH | Amid growing competition for consumers, fast food restaurants are introducing self-serve kiosks and other tech to lure in eaters.
As competition heats up in the fast food sector, restaurant giants are turning to tech to attract eaters.
Restaurants like McDonald's hope updates like self-serve kiosks, mobile payments and smart menus will make them more nimble and help them stand out. And they're not alone.
Wendy's and Panera Bread have also started testing the new tech.
But some worker groups fear the tech updates could mean job losses for minimum wage earners.
Wages have climbed slightly in recent months and voters in a handful of cities and states have elected to bump the minimum wage above the federal number. But, worker movements like the "Fight for $15" campaign are calling for the federal minimum wage to get boosted to $15 an hour.
This campaign alone has 340 protests on the calendar. The concern is that with kiosks, restaurants could potentially cut down labor costs.
Using kiosks, patrons punch in their orders and then servers bring out their food to them. The idea is to create a speedier, less clunky dining experience.
While workers might fear losing their jobs to machines, both Panera Bread and McDonalds have said the kiosks won't replace workers. Panera has even said they would have to keep up hiring to ensure there are servers ready to hand out orders and help consumers with questions they have when using kiosks.
According to Reuters, 500 of McDonald's 14,000 franchise locations have started installing the new tech, and the company has plans to roll out more kiosks and add mobile payments in 2017.
"People may not always like to change, but people like to make money," Chris Kempczinski, who will take over as McDonald's USA president on Jan. 1, told Reuters.