News at Smith

Smith Expert: Odds Against Workers in Fast Food Wage Rebellion

Aug 06, 2013
World Class Faculty & Research


Aug. 6, 2013
Media Alert
Attention: Business and Economics Editors and Reporters

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Long odds face U.S. fast food workers who have been demanding higher wages, says an expert in the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Professor Curt Grimm, the Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics and Strategy, comments on the workers’ demands that include better pay, the right to unionize, and more than doubling the $7.25 minimum wage to $15:

“Income inequality is one of the key economic issues of our time. It has significantly increased over the past 30 years and continues to do so. We will see more and more of such efforts to raise wages. Fast food workers will find it very difficult to gain both wages and jobs.

“Companies have the option to substitute technology for workers, as continues to be the trend throughout the economy. Computer rather than server ordering is on the horizon in table service, fast casual and fast food restaurants. One emerging company in this space with a strong product is Butter Systems.

“In short, restaurant workers have little leverage. Their best outcome would be an increase in the federal minimum wage as proposed by President Obama.”

Contact Grimm at (301) 405-2235 or

The Smith School has an in-house facility for live or taped interviews via fiber-optic line for television or multimedia content.


About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.