Restaurant chain eliminating busboys

Burger chain Red Robin is looking to cut costs as minimum wage hikes take effect across the country.  In a major cost-cutting step, it is eliminating busboys from 570 restaurants.

The company says that the move will save about $8 million in 2018 alone.  Many Red Robin restaurants are located in the west, where minimum wage hikes have taken place as a much faster rate than other areas of the country.  The company says more than half of its locations are located in states that have pay rates above the federal minimum wage and have significant wake hikes mandated by law.

Chief Financial Officer Guy Constant says the change is needed to "address the labor increases we've seen."

The chain has already eliminated "expediters" who plate food in the kitchen.  That move saved nearly $10 million last year.

Along with eliminating busboys, the company will also experiment with self delivery and self-serve options in the next two years to potentially eliminate server positions.

The company says that it has seen persistent negative traffic at its restaurants but says the casual dining market is beginning to show early signs of recovery with growth in December for the first time in 3 years.