First Snapchat, now Wendy’s. No one is safe from AI.
The fast food chain will use an artificial intelligence chatbot to take drive-through orders, reports The Wall Street Journal(opens in new tab). The new chatbot runs on Google’s natural-language processing software and is trained to understand customers’ orders. It will be officially launched in June by a company owned by Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio.
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Training a chatbot for drive-through is more complicated than you might think. The chatbot needs to understand all the ways a person can order. For example, it knows that a customer might call Wendy’s signature Frosty drink a milkshake and that a “JBC” is short for a junior bacon cheeseburger. To train the chatbot, Wendy’s team worked with Google to adapt large language models (or LLM) to include Wendy’s specific terminology and slang.
Wendy’s Chief Executive Todd Penegor said The Wall Street Journal that the chatbot will be very conversational and indistinguishable from a regular employee. But we will believe it when we see it. It is even taught to upsell customers and how to accommodate patrons who change their orders. Approximately 80 percent of Wendy’s orders are reportedly made through the drive-through, so the chatbot has the potential to make a big impact.
Ordering through the drive-through is stressful enough, and now we have to deal with AI taking our orders as well.