Wendy's will start using AI chatbots for drive-throughs

Originally published at: Wendy's will start using AI chatbots for drive-throughs | Boing Boing

Oh boy I can’t wait for Hatsune Miku to screw up peoples’ orders




Ma’am, this is a W- W- W- Wendy’s.

Max Headroom Deal With It GIF


… I wonder what fraction of drive-thru customers commence eating and driving at the same time as soon as they’re back on the street :thinking:

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In my car, it’s 100% of the time. To be fair, I’m just picking at fries while driving, not eating my salad (the Apple Pecan Salad is my go-to item at Wendy’s).


Welcome to your hellhole.

Press Wendy’s nose to get an operator. Who’s also a machine.


yo wind-dee! slap me up some greeezy frost nubs and half a doz belgian fried fruit wings with a side of wicked effulgent snozzberries and tatercribs … bejabbers! [accelerates to window]


If customer service phone bots have taught me one thing it’s that they suck and are totally unhelpful. Since I order their salads on the way home after I go to the hairdresser, I’m not looking forward to this. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Just like @MBrody, I take the salad home to eat. (However, I’ve been known to sometimes nick one or two of my husband’s french fries before I leave the drive thru.)


I experienced this at a nearby McDonald’s. It was in use for a few months and then they shut it off.

It was exactly how you would expect technology to work… initially surprised by how well it worked, of course then frustrated at what isn’t working, and then after arguing with Incomprehension-Bot for a few seconds a human takes over to fix and complete the order.


If it gets my order right, ONCE, I’ll know it’s a chatbot


do you know if that was phone tree ordering, maybe with single keywords for their menu items?

i’m guessing that - in partnering with google - they’re probably trying to handle natural speech, which will probably feel quite different.

very curious how long now till the whole restaurant is automated :confused:


Great, now we get to hear “please listen carefully, as our menu options have recently changed” at fast food restaurants too.


I don’t know, maybe?

It felt exactly like talking to current smart speakers, it would mostly understand the initial request and then ask a couple yes no questions as needed.

Fixing an order was possible with typical verbiage but it was buggy. I’m guessing the success rate for a multiple person and customized order was very, very low. A Google speaker will give up and make the requestor modify their statement and start over, a drive thru bot can’t do that.

The human would cut in pretty quickly when order-bot would start to glitch, I think next time I’ll just try saying “hi human!”.


“Wendy, imagine if my uncle was ordering at a McDonalds drive-through, and he wanted a Big Mac.”


Carl’s Jr. Computer : Enjoy your EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES!

Woman at Carl’s Jr. : You didn’t give me no fries, I got an empty box.

Carl’s Jr. Computer : Would you like another EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES?

Woman at Carl’s Jr. : I said I didn’t get any!

Carl’s Jr. Computer : Thank you! Your account has been charged. Your balance is zero. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase.

Woman at Carl’s Jr. : What? Oh no, NO!

[She hits the machine. An alarm goes off, and a sign appears on the computer saying “WARNING! Carl’s Jr. Frowns Upon Vandalism”]

Carl’s Jr. Computer : I’m sorry you’re having trouble. I’m sorry you’re having trouble.

Woman at Carl’s Jr. : Come on! My kids are starvin’!

Carl’s Jr. Computer : [the woman kicks the computer, and it sprays a fast-acting tranquilizer in her face] This should help you calm down. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase. Your kids are starving. Carl’s Jr. believes no child should go hungry. You are an unfit mother. Your children will be placed in the custody of Carl’s Jr. Carl’s Jr… “Fuck You, I’m Eating.”


Seems rather Kafka-esque


Here you go.


It’ll be interesting.

I have to believe they are not only training it on their full menu, but on their 3-ring binder of management instructions, cashier training, and probably even ingredient and nutrition info.

Plus, if they have any common sense, they’re testing it with audio recordings of every drive thru interaction they’ve recorded in the last year.

However they start this experiment, I’m sure the first deployments will be awful as it experiences the real world for the first time. I also bet that customer service organizations around the world are paying careful attention to how this plays out.