AI chatbot at Wendy’s to run the drive-thru orders

AI chatbot - Image of Wendy's restaurant

The company is testing the technology as a replacement for its human employees in this position.

Wendy’s Co. has become the latest company testing AI chatbot technology as an opportunity to replace human workers.

The testing will begin in June and will be used to take customer orders from the drive-thru.

Wendy’s is not the first fast food chain to use an AI chatbot to complete tasks currently done by human employees. In this instance, the company is using a system powered by Google Cloud’s AI software. It is designed to provide an experience as natural as speaking to an employee, without the need to pay a human being to do a job.

AI chatbot - Image of Drive Thru sign

The technology is capable of understanding speech and answering frequently asked questions, according to the company.

The company is among several considering the use of artificial intelligence to improve the customer service experience while battling labor shortages. Furthermore, since the pandemic, drive-thrus have become considerably more popular, making efficiency in those lanes more important. According to Wendy’s, 80 percent of its customers prefer to use the drive-thru than to order in-store.

The use of the AI chatbot technology is being tested to offer a smoother and faster customer experience.

Artificial intelligence “creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers,” said Todd Penegor, CEO, in a prepared statement.

Opinions regarding what the implementation of artificial intelligence technology will mean for human workers vary greatly. While some predict that the result will be considerable disruption throughout our societies, others believe the difference will be slight.

According to AI chatbot ordering platform company Presto Automation, which specializes in tech for restaurants, this type of implementation will turn the industry on its head.

“I don’t think in three years, there’s going to be a drive-thru having a human take your orders,” said Krishna Gupta, chairperson and interim CEO at Presto, in a recent Bloomberg Television interview.

Wendy’s will debut the technology at a company-owned location close to Columbus, Ohio. It is seeking to use automation to reduce the number of miscommunications and mistakes at its drive-thrus.

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