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May AI take your order? Wendy's is newest chain to test AI ordering

Multiple fast food chains in recent weeks have said they are testing artificial intelligence to take drive-thru orders.
May AI take your order? Wendy's is newest chain to test AI ordering
Posted at 10:41 AM, May 11, 2023

Days after Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. announced some of their restaurants will begin using artificial intelligence to take drive-thru orders, Wendy’s said it will also pilot AI systems. 

Wendy’s said it will use Google Cloud’s AI technology at a company-operated restaurant near its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, starting in June. The restaurant chain said it will use what it learns during the pilot program to expand to more drive-thrus nationwide. 

Wendy’s said the technology will be able to understand made-to-order requests and can respond to frequently asked questions. Wendy’s noted that there are billions of possible order combinations available on the Wendy’s menu, but the technology will still allow customers to fully customize their meals. 

Like Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s says using AI frees up employees to provide faster, more efficient service. 

SEE MORE: Fast food chains begin using AI speaker box

"Wendy's has always been at the forefront of innovation, and we're thrilled to build upon our partnership with the company with our new generative AI technologies," said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud. "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."

Earlier this month, CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., said they will begin using Tori, a proprietary artificial intelligence voice ordering platform. 

Whether this displaces fast-food workers remains to be seen. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 3.1 million Americans who work in the fast food industry. The median pay for fast food and counter workers in 2022 was $13.43 an hour, which is about $20 below what the median hourly wage is for the general population. 

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