Freshii, a Canadian fast-food business, came under fire after it was discovered that under the guise of a “virtual cashier,” Nicaraguan workers were paid as little as $3.75 an hour.

Customers at select Freshii outlets in Ontario are now greeted by a video-calling device featuring “Percy,” a virtual cashier collecting their order, according to TheStar.

Unlike, say, McDonald’s, where you purchase from a large tablet, the Freshii “virtual cashier” is a real person working in a Nicaraguan call center.

The technology is reportedly meant to help grocery chains grapple with the ongoing labor shortages by bringing in workers from other countries.

Workers who take Freshii orders there are paid as little as $3.75 per hour, far less than Freshii servers in Canada, who earn between $12 and $16 per hour. This may be in line with employment standards in Nicaragua, but way below Canada’s federal minimum wage of around $12.14 USD.

Despite labor boards and customers criticizing Freshii for outsourcing, the same outlet contacted various employment lawyers and discovered that Freshii’s creative technique is legal.

Bea Bruske, president of the Canadian Labor Congress, said:

“Shipping jobs to an offshore location to pay less than a third of our minimum wage here is just extremely disappointing, and, quite frankly, I’m disgusted a company like Freshii would take this approach.”

“I expect better from a Toronto-based company and know customers will vote with their feet”, said minister Monte McNaughton.

The Percy “virtual cashier,” according to Freshii, is one of many alternatives being explored, and the initiative is operated by a third-party partner.

Chief business development officer Paul Hughes said:

“Just like with Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, self-checkout options and other emerging ordering/cashier technologies, Freshii is always looking to be an early tester and adopter of new tech solutions that might make it easier for our customers to order healthy meals and our franchise partners to run more successful restaurants.”

Sources: Westernjournal, Thestar, Zomaloma

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.