Your drive-thru experience may feel a little different very soon.
According to multiple reports, Wendy’s is the latest convenience food chain to tinker with implementing artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, with the new technology being integrated as soon as next month in some stores. The bots will communicate with customers and take drive-thru orders instead of humans.
The Google Cloud-powered AI software will talk using natural speech and answer frequently asked questions.
Wendy’s is one of several chains looking to fill labor gaps left wide open during the height of the Great Resignation.
This “creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers,” Chief Executive Officer Todd Penegor said in a statement as reported by Fortune.
Wendy’s decision to turn to AI to fill productivity gaps is a part of a larger workforce conversation about AI’s role in significantly shifting the future of work, and possibly leaving millions of workers out of a job. According to the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2020,” AI is projected to replace 85 million jobs globally by 2025. This sounds bleak, but the report also says AI will create 97 million new jobs in the next few years as well.
“I don’t think in three years, there’s going to be a drive-thru having a human take your orders,” Krishna Gupta, Presto’s chairman and interim chief executive officer, told Bloomberg Television.
The first Wendy’s chatbot drive thru will debut near Columbus, Ohio.