July 17, 2024

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McDonald’s completes trial run of AI-powered payment system with IBM

McDonald’s completes trial run of AI-powered payment system with IBM

NEW YORK (AP) — Have you ever had your McDonald’s order mixed up by an AI-powered delivery service? The trial of the fast food giant’s current automated order taking system will soon be coming to an end.

McDonald’s confirmed on Monday that it has decided to end the global partnership with IBM, which has been testing this AI technology in select McDonald’s restaurants since 2021.

This doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter some sort of chatbot while picking up french fries on your commute home again. While IBM’s partnership in testing McDonald’s’ current automated order taking is about to end, the Chicago-based company noted that it is not ruling out other potential AI plans for food ordering in the future — citing “an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions further.” Widely.”

“Our work with IBM has given us confidence that a drive-thru voice ordering solution will be part of the future of our restaurants,” McDonald’s said in a prepared statement this week, adding that it would continue evaluations “to make an informed decision.” regarding a future solution for voice requests by the end of the year.”

Many fast food chains have begun to explore the possibility of implementing AI across operations in recent years, with many citing the potential to increase speed and reduce costs.

In the US, Wendy’s has partnered with Google Cloud to develop a chatbot “Wendy’s FreshAI”. White Castle has teamed up with SoundHound AI with the goal of bringing voice-activated AI technology to more than 100 restaurants by the end of 2024. And a handful from Panera, I raise And Popeyes locations have brought OpenCity’s “Tori” voice assistant to their ordering lanes.

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Outside of America, Popeyes UK also launched its first AI-powered drive-thru service (dubbed “Al”) last month, after the company said a pilot program reported 97% accuracy.

The success of AI propulsion has been mixed. McDonald’s’ automated order-taking machine in collaboration with IBM has received dozens of complaints in recent years, for example — with many taking to social media to document the chatbot’s misunderstanding of their orders.

One 2023 Tik Tok, appears to show the ordering assistant driving after ordering McDonald’s chicken nuggets on a car’s tab, despite customers asking her to stop while laughing. Additional posts show a host of other mishaps – such as the addition of strange toppings, such as ice cream With ketchup and butteror receiving orders From other nearby cars.

Unknown sources familiar with the technology He told CNBC That the technology had difficulty interpreting different dialects and dialects, among other challenges affecting the accuracy of the ranking.

McDonald’s declined to comment on the accuracy of the automated order takers. In an initial statement, IBM said that “this technology has proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, and is fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions,” but did not immediately respond to a request for further comment on details. of potential challenges.

New York-based technology company Armonk also said it is currently in “discussions and trials” with several other quick-service restaurant customers interested in automated order takers.

According to the trade bulletin Restaurant business And CNBC, which obtained a memo sent to franchisees last week, said the automated ordering technology will be retired at McDonald’s locations for testing “no later than July 26, 2024.”

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IBM and McDonald’s have confirmed that while their AI partnership is about to end, the two will continue their relationship on other projects. McDonald’s said it still plans to use many IBM products across its global system.

In December, McDonald’s Launched a multi-year partnership With Google Cloud. In addition to moving restaurant computations from servers to the cloud, the partnership is also set to apply generative AI “across a number of key business priorities” in restaurants around the world.