McDonald’s Just Announced a Major Drive-Thru Change

This feature might be gone the next time you pull up.

<p>Getty Images/Allrecipes</p>

Getty Images/Allrecipes

When a craving for a juicy fast food burger and crispy fries hits, we rely on the drive-thru as a way to place a food order and have it ready to bring home or take on the road. But what happens when things don’t go so smoothly? More and more restaurants are using new technology to help customers, with many rolling out artificial intelligence (AI) shortcuts in hopes of making the ordering process more seamless. But like anything new, there's bound to be some hiccups—most recently, videos have gone viral of customers talking about their not-so-great drive-thru experiences.

AI-Powered Drive-Thru Ordering Goes Wrong

Fast food chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr, and Del Taco have all experimented with AI technology at their drive-thrus in recent years. Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell and KFC, announced earlier this year that it was even instituting an “AI-first” plan.

While companies have touted AI as the future of the fast food industry, the technology has also resulted in viral social media videos of orders going hilariously wrong. AI mistakes at McDonald's drive-thrus made the rounds on TikTok last year, with customers filming their orders of multiple butter packets for fries or an out-of-control number of burgers being added to orders.

One video featured two women uncontrollably laughing as they pleaded for the ordering system to stop as hundreds of dollars worth of McNuggets rung up on their tab. Another TikToker drew a whopping 97,000 views on a post where she explained how "robots are taking over the world." She said the generated voice bot put a total of nine sweet teas on her McDonald's tab after she placed an order for a single drink. That’s a lot of sweet tea, y’all!

McDonald’s Is Removing Its Automated Order-Taking Chatbot

Given all of these errors, it may come as no surprise that McDonald’s officially announced the end of its artificial intelligence chatbot test at drive-thrus, leading to discussions over the fast food industry’s rush to use the technology. The world’s largest burger chain will remove automated AI-based ordering systems from over 100 locations around the U.S. that had been put in place as part of a collaboration with IBM in 2021.

How does this change the way you order your burger and fries with extra ketchup? And what does it mean for the “voice” behind the take-out order? Allrecipes reached out to McDonald’s regarding its future AI plans. The company confirmed an end to its IBM Automated Order Taking and said it is moving forward with a different voice ordering drive-thru solution, suggesting that McDonald’s plans to find a new partner.

"Through our partnership with IBM, we have captured many learnings and feel there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly. After thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current global partnership with IBM on AOT beyond this year. IBM remains a trusted partner, and we will still utilize many of their products across our global system," McDonald's said in a statement.

The voice technology that has been in place will be shut down by late July and the company will continue to evaluate plans for future voice-ordering solutions, so stay tuned to see what new technology the burger chain turns to next.

Read the original article on All Recipes.