McDonald’s AI drive-thru test ended

McDonald’s AI drive-thru test ended

/ 11:13 AM June 17, 2024

McDonald’s AI drive-thru has been brewing for two years until the Chicago-based fast food giant ended the program recently.

McDo updated its franchises via email, and the Restaurant Business news publication obtained that message. 

READ: World’s first AI resto opens in California

Surprisingly, the email says AI-powered drive-thru automation is still on the table for the global chain. Soon, it may deploy this system in the Philippines and other countries outside the US.


Why did McDonald’s AI drive-thru end?

“While there have been successes to date, we feel there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly,” McDonald’s chief restaurant officer Mason Smoot wrote in the online message.

“After a thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current partnership with IBM on AOT and the technology will be shut off in all restaurants currently testing it no later than July 26, 2024,” he added.

The company will keep evaluating its plans to make an “informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year.” 

The global fast-food juggernaut contacted the Restaurant Business regarding McDonald’s AI drive-thru. Mickey D’s said the project’s goal is to see whether or not automated voice ordering could streamline operations. 


“We see tremendous opportunity in advancing our restaurant technology and will continue to evaluate long-term, scalable solutions that will help us make an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year,” the company added. 

Restaurant Business reported that other food establishments, such as Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s and Dunkin, are testing AI drive-thrus.


Their goal is to automate order-taking to remove the need for human employees. As a result, their branches can operate with fewer workers or divert them to other tasks.

Despite the end of McDonald’s AI drive-thru, the fast-food chain says it has seen the potential of this technology. However, it will look for another vendor for it.

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“IBM has given us confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurant’s future, and we want to sincerely thank IBM and the restaurant teams that have been part of this crucial test,” Smoot said in his message.

TOPICS: technology
TAGS: technology

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