The next time someone asks for fries with their shake, they might be talking to a robot. At least, that’s what the US fast-food chain Wendy’s has planned.
Next month, Wendy’s will be testing an artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot with the capability to speak with customers and take their orders.
The pilot program, dubbed “FreshAI”, is powered by Google Cloud’s AI software. It will launch in the Columbus, Ohio, area.
In a press release, Wendy’s said it was designed to revolutionize the fast-food restaurant industry.
“By leveraging generative AI, Wendy’s seeks to take the complexity out of the ordering process so employees can focus on serving up fast, fresh-made, quality food and exceptional service,” the company said.
Google Cloud’s chief executive, Thomas Kurian, said: “Generative AI is fundamentally changing how people interact with brands, and we anticipate Wendy’s integration of Google Cloud’s generative AI technology will set a new standard for great drive-thru experiences for the quick-service industry.”
This bot will be trained to know that when a customer orders a milkshake, they are really asking for a Frosty, Wendy’s version of the ice-cream beverage. But as of 2022, the bot’s order accuracy was 79%, according to Intouch Insight. Wendy’s hopes to raise that to 85% or higher in order to compete with other fast-food chains testing similar technology.
Wendy’s is not entirely a pioneer in this arena. Last year, McDonald’s opened a fully automated restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, and deployed more AI-operated drive-thrus around the country.
Like the newly automated McDonald’s, the Wendy’s restaurants will employ real humans to monitor the drive-thru to make sure all orders are understood by the chatbot, or if a customer requests to speak with a human.
Other fast-food chains such as Sonic and Popeyes are also experimenting with AI.
Tech companies Google, IBM and Microsoft have been racing to unveil their version of an AI chatbot to the world since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year.
Such drastic changes in the fast-food industry are likely to add to fears that jobs once exclusively performed by humans will be taken over by robots.
GPT’s reaction to this article:
As an AI language model, I do not have personal opinions, but I can provide you with some insights regarding the article. The article discusses how Wendy’s, a US fast-food chain, plans to test an AI-powered chatbot called “FreshAI” to take customers’ orders. The chatbot is powered by Google Cloud’s AI software and will be launched in the Columbus, Ohio area. Wendy’s hopes to revolutionize the fast-food industry by leveraging generative AI to simplify the ordering process and allow employees to focus on providing quality food and exceptional service. While Wendy’s is not the first fast-food chain to experiment with AI, this new technology could lead to concerns about job displacement.