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Carl's Jr. CEO: Expect kiosks at fast-food joints, more part-timers

June 17, 2013|By Ricardo Lopez
  • CKE Restaurants Chief Executive Andy Puzder said President Obama's healthcare law will cause more part-time hiring, and that self-serve kiosks will replace workers at fast-food joints.
CKE Restaurants Chief Executive Andy Puzder said President Obama's… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Expect self-serve kiosks at fast-food restaurants and more part-time workers as the Affordable Care Act continues rolling out, according to Andy Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc.

Also, don't expect many more of CKE's Carl's Jr. restaurants to open in California, Puzder said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal

The 62-year-old CEO has been a vocal critic of President Obama's signature healthcare law, pulling no punches about how it will affect businesses.

Quiz: How well do you know fast food?

He told The Times earlier this year that he expects more businesses — including his — to hire part-time workers so they would be exempt from the healthcare law's coverage mandates.

He expanded on that point in an article published in the Journal over the weekend.

He said his consultants have calculated that it would be cheaper to offer his workforce more expensive health-insurance plans than to drop them into state exchanges and pay penalties, according to the Journal. Currently, about 40% of his employees are part time.

He also said restaurants will probably turn to technology to deal with the healthcare law. "You're going to go into a fast-food restaurant and order on an iPad or tablet instead of talking to a person because we don't have to pay benefits for any of those things," he said.

Puzder granted the interview to the Journal while he was in New York scoping out new sites for his restaurants. He said stringent regulations in California have dampened his appetite for expanding in the Golden State.

"Like many businesses, we love California and would love to build more restaurants," he said. "California is not interested in having businesses grow."

CKE Restaurants is headquartered in Carpinteria.


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