25 McNuggets Meals? McDonald’s Ends AI Drive-Thru Ordering Test with IBM

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) has announced the end of its test period for AI order-taking technology in drive-thrus, which was conducted in partnership with IBM (NYSE: IBM)

The technology, deployed in over 100 restaurants since 2021, aimed to simplify operations and improve customer experience. However, the decision to remove the AI system comes after mixed results and viral videos showcasing its failures.

The voice recognition technology of the Automated Order Taker, according to CEO Chris Kempczinski in 2021, was accurate 85% of the time. But that obviously was not good enough for frustrated customers. Many ordering failures made their rounds on TikTok.


Trying the McDonald’s AI drive thru….Again @McDonald’s Corporate #fail

♬ original sound – Dal JustDal

Customers encountered issues such as incorrect orders and added items they did not request. In one instance, a woman attempting to order water and vanilla ice cream received additional ketchup and butter packets. Another user reported getting way too many McNuggets in their order.

Despite the setback, McDonald’s is likely to keep looking for ways to use technology to streamline its workflow. The company said that its work with IBM has given them confidence in the potential of such technology and plans to evaluate long-term, scalable solutions by the end of the year.

McDonald’s has been exploring the use of AI technology in its restaurants since 2019, including the installation of AI-powered menu boards with suggestive selling features. The company’s ongoing efforts to automate tasks also include mobile ordering, in-store kiosks, and experiments with drone deliveries, kitchen robots, and AI hiring tools.

Information for this story was found via Insider, CNBC, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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