Google is working with Wendy’s to perfect an AI-based drive-thru bot

May 10, 2023

AI is really being embraced everywhere now. However, aside from tech giants like Microsoft and Google, other companies outside the tech industry are also now trying to integrate AI into their businesses. Surprisingly, that includes Wendy’s, which is now collaborating with Google to test a special AI chatbot that will allow the store to take drive-thru orders using natural language.

If OpenAI’s ChatGPT creation is being adopted by apps and platforms related to office productivity, it seems Google wants to use its AI creation in more practical ways. In a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, the American fast-food restaurant chain is said to be working with the search giant to create a chatbot that will be specifically fashioned for its business. The bot will reportedly be placed in Wendy’s branch in Columbus, Ohio, in June.

The report shares that the bot will be used to take orders from drive-thru customers, though Wendy’s assured that it wouldn’t replace any employee with this new practice. Instead, just like any other businesses want from AI, Wendy’s reportedly intends to use the technology to help its workers focus on more important things. As expected, the bot should reduce the line of waiting for customers by being more efficient in taking orders. Meanwhile, Wendy’s executive Todd Penegor said that the drive-thru bot “will be very conversational” and that “you won’t know you’re talking to anybody but an employee.”

To do that, however, Google has to specifically modify the bot to recognize the natural language being used by Wendy’s customers. This applies to the order jargon and some certain special order requests. According to the report, the bot can also ask customers whether they want to upsize their orders.

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