Wendy’s pilots AI for contactless fast food ordering at drive-thrus

FASTER FOOD: Customers will be able to place orders at a Wendy’s drive-thru via an AI-powered chatbot

Wendy’s is to pilot an automated contactless fast food ordering system that will enable customers to place their orders at a drive-through via an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that will have “the ability to understand made-to-order requests and generate responses to frequently asked questions”.

The US-based fast food chain is to test the Wendy’s FreshAI solution at an outlet in Columbus, Ohio, in order to offer customers “a quicker and more consistent drive-thru ordering experience” and says it plans to use “learnings to inform future expansion to more Wendy’s drive-thrus”.

“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 explains.

“With 75 to 80% of Wendy’s customers choosing the drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel, delivering a seamless ordering experience using AI automation can be difficult due to the complexities of menu options, special requests and ambient noise.

“For example, because customers can fully customize their orders and food is prepared when ordered at Wendy’s, this presents billions of possible order combinations available on the Wendy’s menu, leaving room for miscommunication or incorrect orders. Google Cloud’s generative AI capabilities can now bring a new automated ordering experience to the drive-thru that is intended to enhance the experience that customers, employees and franchisees expect from Wendy’s.

“This will all be powered by Google’s foundational LLMs that have the data from Wendy’s menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the point of sale system.”

Wendy’s pilots AI for contactless fast food ordering at drive-thrus was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.