Wendy’s CEO just revealed a terrifying reality in fast food

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As minimum wages rise, Wendy’s is swapping out employees for kiosks.

The fast-food chain plans to roll out kiosks across the US by the end of 2016, in part due to the rising cost of labor. Kiosks will be made available to franchisees later this year,giving franchisees the choiceof whether or not to install the self-service tech.

In addition to the self-ordering kiosks, the company is focusing on tech such as mobile order and pay, intended to cut down on employees’ work and responsibilities. Wendy’s is also investing in behind-the-scenes technology that could reduce the time it takes for employees to do things such as schedule shifts.

“We continue to use all of those tools to mitigate any of the inflation that we see on the wage front,”Wendy’s President and CFO, Todd Penegor said in a call with investorsearlier in May.

Wendy’s is far from alone in looking t0 tech as a way to reduce labor costs.

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McDonald’s Create Your Taste kiosks
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Hollis Johnson

McDonald’s and Panera bread are similarly rolling out kiosks across the US, with Panera planning on installing “Panera 2.0” technology by the end of the year.

Even chains that haven’t yet seriously invested in new tech are interested.

“If you’re making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive – this is not rocket science,” Andy Puzder, the CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, told Business Insider,