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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

McDonald’s Halts AI Drive-Thru Orders

Image credits: Jurij Kenda / Unsplash

If your local McDonald’s has been confidently messing up your drive-thru order with an AI chatbot, rejoice!


The fast-food giant is hitting the brakes on its AI drive-thru ordering partnership with IBM. According to Restaurant Business, the program will wind down by July 26th, 2024.


McDonald’s had been testing this tech in over 100 restaurants since 2021, hoping it would speed up service. Despite the end of this partnership, the company remains optimistic about the future of voice-ordering solutions in their drive-thrus.


 

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The reason for the split with IBM isn’t clear, but McDonald’s has hinted at exploring other AI options. A potential candidate is Google, with whom they announced a vague deal in December. Google has already partnered with Wendy’s to test drive-thru AI, so it’s a promising lead.


McDonald’s isn’t alone in this AI adventure. White Castle is testing AI from SoundHound, and Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are using AI chatbots backed by human workers in the Philippines.


While the AI drive-thru saga continues, McDonald’s is also automating other tasks. From mobile ordering and in-store kiosks to drone deliveries and kitchen robots, the golden arches are embracing tech in a big way.


So, next time you’re at the drive-thru, you might just get your order right—at least until the next AI experiment rolls out!



 

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