Person at mcdonalds kiosk(l), McDonald's sign(c), Man in McDonald's(r) @gdogg1000/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘And the kiosk still asks if you wanna tip’: McDonald’s customer blames self-service kiosks on $20 minimum wage, and viewers are divided

'Even more crazy is the fact that their prices will remain high.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Apr 3, 2024   Updated on Apr 3, 2024, 7:53 am CDT

On April 1, the state of California officially increased its minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 an hour. According to CNN, the new rate only applies to “restaurant chains with more than 60 nationwide locations.” 

While the move was celebrated by industry workers, the transition has been plagued by fears that these heightened wages would increase prices. 

These fears have spilled over to TikTok, where numerous videos on the topic have gone viral. One such video was recently posted by TikTok user @gdogg1000, who, in a clip with over 2 million views, shows an array of self-service kiosks at a McDonald’s location.

“April 1st. Day 1 $20 hour minimum wage. No registers open. No menu’s turned on. Self serve only,” he wrote in the text overlaying the video.

The implication of his video, it would seem, is that the store has opted not to staff registers to save money owing to the newly increased wages.

However, McDonald’s has been rolling out self-serve kiosks long before this $20 minimum wage was in discussion. A 2018 Business Insider piece notes that McDonald’s has been installing these kiosks since 2015, a year in which every state had a minimum wage under $10.

This may be why most commenters did not believe @gdogg1000’s explanation as to the prominence of these kiosks.

“This would of happened either way with 20 minimum wage or not,” said a user.

“McDonald’s is doing this in areas that don’t have a $20 minimum wage,” added another.

“Same in Texas,” observed a third. “Min wage is $7.25.”

Several users also pointed out McDonald’s profits and CEO pay. At the end of 2023, McDonald’s reported a gross profit of $14.563 billion; the company’s CEO, Chris Kempczinski, was paid $17.77 million in compensation for the year 2022. 

As noted by a press release from the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, “Today, a typical McDonald’s worker would have to work more than 1,200 years to earn the $17.77 million in compensation that McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski was paid in 2022.”

@gdogg1000 $20 hour minimum wage in California.##minimumwage##15dollarminimumwage##wages##antiwork ##layoffs2024 ♬ original sound – Gdogg1000
@gdogg1000 #greenscreen #minimumwagecheck #wages #antiwork #layoffs2024 #15dollarminimumwage #20dollar #california #californialaborlaws #californialaborcode #californialaws2024? ♬ original sound – Gdogg1000

Back on TikTok, further users observed that, if restaurants were truly using these kiosks to reduce labor costs, they would expect a decrease in menu prices. This has not been the case.

“So the prices have been lowered for the food?” sarcastically asked a commenter.

“even more crazy is the fact that their prices will remain high,” echoed a second.

One user even poked fun at the prevalence of tipping culture at a variety of self-serve kiosks in retail stores: “And the kiosk still asks if you wanna tip.”

The Daily Dot reached out to McDonald’s via email and @gdogg1000 via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Apr 3, 2024, 8:00 am CDT