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  • 22 Jul, 2024

McDonald’s cancels AI trial following widespread attention to order errors.

McDonald’s cancels AI trial following widespread attention to order errors.

The fast food giant discontinues AI-driven voice ordering at approximately 100 outlets following viral videos showcasing order mistakes.

McDonald’s is discontinuing a trial of AI-assisted ordering at selected drive-through restaurants following viral videos of order errors. The decision by the fast food giant to remove the AI-powered voice-ordering system from about 100 outlets reflects a broader trend in the restaurant industry to adopt technology aimed at reducing labor costs.

Initially launched in partnership with IBM at a limited number of drive-through locations in the United States in 2021, McDonald’s has decided to end its current collaboration with IBM on AOT (Automated Order Taking). According to a report by Restaurant Business, Mason Smoot, Chief Restaurant Officer for McDonald’s USA, noted both successes and challenges with the AI system, prompting a careful review and subsequent decision to deactivate the technology by July 26, 2024.

While this marks the conclusion of the current AI trial, McDonald’s expressed ongoing interest in advancing restaurant technology. The company affirmed that its partnership with IBM has provided valuable insights, reinforcing its confidence that voice ordering solutions will play a role in future restaurant operations. McDonald’s plans to continue evaluating scalable AI solutions with the aim of making a decision on a future voice ordering system by the end of the year.

The move comes amid a broader industry push towards AI adoption, with other major US fast-food chains like Chipotle, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut also integrating AI systems to enhance efficiency and reduce operational costs.