AI Will Soon Take Fast Food Orders

Wendy’s is partnering with Google to launch a pilot program called Wendy’s FreshAI, which will test an AI chatbot that can take orders from customers in drive-thrus. The chatbot is designed to be conversational, able to answer frequently asked questions, understand made-to-order requests, and even upsell customers by pushing daily specials or larger sizes. Wendy’s hopes to reduce the slowest point in the order process – ordering at the speaker box – by using the chatbot. The AI will be monitored by an employee in case a customer wants to speak with a human. Other fast-food chains like Popeyes, Carl’s Jr., and Hardee’s have also implemented AI-powered voice ordering at some drive-thru locations. Wendy’s says its AI is not intended to replace human employees, but some tech leaders, including A.I. pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, have raised concerns about the technology upending the job market.