McDonald’s Just Fired Its Drive-Thru AI and Is Turning to Humans Instead

McDonald’s has ended its two-year partnership with IBM, which involved testing AI to take voice orders at drive-thru kiosks. The company has been testing the AI at over 100 restaurants but plans to remove the systems by the end of next month. The goal was to speed up the overall turnaround time for customers, but it is unclear if that goal was achieved. McDonald’s CEO Mason Smoot believes there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly.

The company plans to make an informed decision on a future voice-ordering solution by the end of the year and is optimistic about the practice, despite some public missteps. TikTok has been filled with videos of confused customers getting items they never asked for, such as nine sweet teas and two pats of butter. McDonald’s believes that their work with IBM has given them confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of their restaurants’ future.

IBM is also working with chains including Wendy’s, Hardee’s, and Dunkin’ on using AI to take drive-thru orders. McDonald’s has had a long-standing interest in AI, having bought AI firm Apprente in 2019 to speed up order-taking. In 2019, McDonald’s bought Dynamic Yield, a company specializing in personalization and decision logic technology, and took a 10% stake in Plexure, the vendor for the McDonald’s app. McDonald’s has a new internal team called McD Tech Labs and plans to expand its presence in Silicon Valley, hiring additional engineers, data scientists, and tech experts.

Read More @ Yahoo

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