McDonald's US removes AI technology from drive-throughs

McDonald’s is ending its test of employing artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots at drive-throughs

After customers shared comical mishaps and errors received because of AI technology in McDonald's drive-throughs, the brand will be removing the ordering technology. 

In a trial with IBM, the system which featured an AI voice listening and responding to customers orders, will be removed from over 100 locations across the US.

The technology has not proved reliable as viral videos show misinterpreted orders, including bacon-topped ice cream, to hundres of dollars worth of chicken nuggets.

Speaking on the technology

McDonald's told franchisees it would remove the tech from the more than 100 US restaurants it has been testing it in by the end of July.

"After thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current global partnership with IBM on Automated Order Taking beyond this year," the restaurant chain said in a statement.

However, it added it remained confident the tech would still be "part of its restaurants’ future. We will continue to evaluate long-term, scalable solutions that will help us make an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year," the statement said.

Fast-food brands have taken an immense interest in integrating generative AI into their systems in recent years. Alongside McDonald’s, operators in the US including Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr and Del Taco all use AI technology at their drive-throughs.

Earlier this month, Popeyes UK announced it was launching AI-powered drive-throughs following a successful pilot in Northampton, with a view to expanding to all current UK drive-through sites by July.

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