In a bold move responding to California’s escalating wage laws, a prominent businessman is taking charge to ensure the viability of his fast-food empire. With 140 Burger King franchises under his belt, Harshraj Ghai isn’t letting burdensome labor costs slow him down. Instead, he’s revolutionizing the dining experience by accelerating the rollout of self-service kiosks across his California establishments.

Ghai’s strategy is crystal clear: he’s slashing worker hours and embracing automation to navigate the tumultuous waters of California’s $20-an-hour minimum wage. In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Ghai emphasized the urgency, stating, “We can’t move fast enough on this [rollout].” With a quarter of his restaurants already equipped, Ghai plans to have kiosks installed in the remaining 75% within the next 30 to 60 days.

But Ghai’s vision extends beyond mere survival; it’s about thriving in the face of adversity. Faced with skyrocketing operating costs, he’s taking decisive action. By streamlining operations and integrating cutting-edge technology, Ghai aims to maintain affordability for his loyal customers. In a strategic move, he’s also resisting the temptation to hike menu prices beyond a modest 8% to 10%.

However, Ghai’s determination isn’t solely driven by economics; it’s a testament to his unwavering commitment to his employees and patrons alike. He understands the delicate balance between profitability and accessibility, refusing to compromise on either.

While some may view Ghai’s swift adoption of kiosks as reactionary, it’s a calculated maneuver rooted in foresight. Initially, his plan was to gradually introduce kiosks over a span of five to ten years. But faced with legislative pressures, Ghai is adapting at lightning speed, ensuring his business remains not just competitive, but a beacon of innovation in the fast-food landscape.

Ghai’s approach underscores a broader trend within the industry. As the minimum wage debate rages on, businesses are being forced to rethink traditional models and embrace technological advancements. Scott Rodrick, a McDonald’s franchisee, echoes Ghai’s sentiments, considering similar measures to mitigate the impact of rising labor costs.

In the face of adversity, Ghai stands resolute, leading the charge towards a future where efficiency and affordability go hand in hand. As California’s fast-food industry grapples with unprecedented challenges, Ghai’s bold initiatives serve as a testament to the resilience of entrepreneurship in the Golden State.

In a world where change is inevitable, Ghai is not merely adapting; he’s pioneering a new era of dining, one self-serve kiosk at a time.