20 June 2024

McDonald’s AI drive-thru trial: a reminder AI is still in development

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McDonald’s AI drive-thru trial: a reminder AI is still in development
Annabel GibsonWritten ByAnnabel Gibson

Annabel is the Marketing Coordinator at Propeller, taking on the production of social media communications, creating copy for articles and contacting external agencies for collaborations.

Earlier this year, we witnessed countless brands having some fun working with AI, from the good, the bad and the ugly. A lot of brands enjoyed seeing the funny side of AI’s infancy, like KitKat’s ‘Have AI Break, Have a KitKat’ campaign. Huge brands like Innocent joined in to speculate on how this software was developing, particularly when looking at creativity. 

However, this hasn’t stopped the adoption of AI across all industries, and in such experimental ways. The potential for innovation and streamlined efficiency is completely untapped, and its enthralling watching brands find new ways to utilise the technology available to them. 

While companies continue to experiment though, there will, of course, be room for error. In this article, we explore McDonald’s latest trial, using AI for drive-thru. After a few months, the fast-food giant has decided to end this trial due to a number of technical errors.

What’s gone wrong?

From topping a dessert with bacon, to adding £166 worth of chicken nuggets to a customer’s order, it’s fair to say McDonald’s AI drive-thru assistant had a creative flare of it’s own… And no, these customers did not willingly add these items to their order, even though it may be something you’ve considered doing in the past.

Countless TikTok videos showed customers arguing with the AI drive-thru assistant, with one woman even seen struggling to order vanilla ice cream and a bottle of water, and instead ending up with multiple sundaes, ketchup sachets, and two portions of butter.

Good-bye to the AI drive-thru assistant, for now…

While confident that the technology will still be a part of the company’s future, McDonald’s decided to end this experiment- giving no official reason.

There’s no such thing as bad press

Despite this experiment causing some aggravation from disgruntled customers, it’s still given a lot of media attention to McDonald’s. Without even trying, the fast-food giant has placed itself in the forefront of consumer’s minds. Even if the checkout experience was bad, you’re still thinking about your next McDonald’s order.

What’s next for AI?

Business leaders across all industries have hailed AI as the future, and we are still on that trajectory. The future of the fast food industry lies in the hands of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. As AI continues to develop, more experimental AI applications in the food industry will emerge, not all will be successful, but some will be revolutionary.

From data management to automatic operations, the fast food industry is going through a revolutionary stage wherein it is witnessing the all-round transformation and a influx of revenue generation with the help of upcoming technology. 

In Summary…

While it is the end of the AI drive-thru at McDonald’s for now, it is definitely not the end forever. The strides this fast-food giant is taking in updating its processes with the latest technology and equipment available, proves why it remains a leader in this expanding industry.

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