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McDonald’s tests drive-thru Siri-style AI technology

“Welcome to McDonald’s,” the voice said to Siri, greeting a customer in the drive-thru. “We currently serve a limited menu, so please review the menu before ordering. “

Human interaction, expressed through an AI interface across the screen from McDonald’s, could sound like something from a dystopian future. But there’s a lot going on now, as patrons at several of the fast food giant’s Chicago-area establishments specify their McDonald’s order in the drive-thru at 10 Windy City locations. You can check out a user’s experience with this technology below, which was posted on TikTok and was the subject of remarks by McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski this week at the Strategic Decisions conference of ‘Alliance Bernstein. One big update he shared: On sites that use AI order takers, McDonald’s sees order accuracy of 85%.

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Some of you reading this, of course, might chuckle a bit, as the brooding teenager behind the typical fast food counter himself doesn’t necessarily have the best track record when it comes to ordering accuracy than he does. you pass. And yes, the ambition here at McDonald’s seems to be to implement technological solutions like this AI order taking system in order to potentially save on labor costs – in other words, it might not be long before a robot basically asks you over the speaker if you want fries with that. Or informing you that the McDonald’s ice cream machine is broken.

@ soupmaster2000

It is the most dystopian thing I have ever seen in 27 years of my life. 2020 is crazy. # 2020 #mcdonalds #food #bizarre #fyp #TikTokRecipe

original sound – Julia

Kempczinski recognized the challenge of training workers to stay behind and let AI do its job, rather than going out and trying to help technology interpret customer orders correctly. This is how the technology will improve, so that it can eventually be deployed on a larger scale over the next two years. “Now there is a big step forward from 10 restaurants in Chicago to 14,000 restaurants across the United States, with an endless number of promotional permutations, menu permutations, dialect permutations – and so on. more, ”he told the conference.

An employer like McDonald’s that employs low-wage workers to perform tasks like flipping burgers may not seem like the ideal environment where innovation and technology can thrive. But as this AI technology shows, the ubiquitous fast food restaurant with the familiar golden arches on the outside is leaning towards technology like this, in part to keep costs down.

Kempczinski, for example, added that McDonald’s also wants to do the same sort of thing in the kitchen, automating some of its equipment like deep fryers and grills – which makes sense when you think about the volume of burgers and fries that it produces for customers each. day. However, this technology is not as advanced, according to the CEO, and will not be widely used in the chain for at least several years.

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