According To Wikipedia, A Hamburger, Or Simply Burger, Is A Sandwich Consisting Of Fillings—Usually A Patty Of Ground Meat, Typically Beef—Placed Inside A Sliced Bun Or Bread Roll…

Last Updated on: 22nd August 2023, 05:14 pm

“What if,” said some cheap asshole one morning, “we could find a way to line our pockets even more while not sacrificing our long established commitment to infuriating customers and screwing up orders? And what if, and this is the best part other than the lining our pockets part, we could do those things faster than ever before?”

“Hurrah!!!,” exclaimed all of his cheap asshole friends. “You are a genius, good sir!”

And so it was that Wendy’s decided that what the drive-thru experience needs more than anything else in the whole wide world is AI chatbots!

DUBLIN, Ohio and SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Wendy’s® and Google Cloud today announced an expanded partnership to pilot a groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) solution,Wendy’s FreshAI, designed to revolutionize the quick service restaurant industry. The technology has the potential to transform Wendy’s drive-thru food ordering experience with Google Cloud’s generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology.

With 75 to 80 percent of Wendy’s customers choosing the drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel, delivering a seamless ordering experience using AI automation can be difficult due to the complexities of menu options, special requests, and ambient noise. For example, because customers can fully customize their orders and food is prepared when ordered at Wendy’s, this presents billions of possible order combinations available on the Wendy’s menu, leaving room for miscommunication or incorrect orders. Google Cloud’s generative AI capabilities can now bring a new automated ordering experience to the drive-thru that is intended to enhance the experience that customers, employees and franchisees expect from Wendy’s.

In June, Wendy’s plans to launch its first pilot of Google Cloud’s AI technology in a Columbus, OH-area, Company-operated restaurant, using those learnings to inform future expansions to more Wendy’s drive-thrus. The pilot will include new generative AI offerings, such as Vertex AI and more, to have conversations with customers, the ability to understand made-to-order requests and generate responses to frequently asked questions. 
This will all be powered by Google’s foundational LLMs that have the data from Wendy’s menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the Point of Sale system. By leveraging generative AI, Wendy’s seeks to take the complexity out of the ordering process so employees can focus on serving up fast, fresh-made, quality food and exceptional service.

Let me know how that removing the complexity from the process thing works out the first time somebody with an accent or a speech impediment shows up. I hope there’s some kind of human summoning failure threshold here or nobody will ever be able to order anything again.

I realize that nobody really wants to work at a drive-thru, but somebody has to, and that somebody really ought not be a computer, I don’t think.

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  1. I’d love to see how this AI would do with my confusing dad. One time, he tried to order New York fries. I think the sizes were mini, small, regular, and large. And he kept saying “I’ll have a regular small.” Or imagine a family full of people? How many stupid items would get into the order just because a kid yelled something ridiculous from the back seat? So dumb!

    1. Or what about those people who keep changing their minds?

      “I’ll have nuggets. No, make that a cheeseburger. And a coke…no, a strawberry…chocolate shake! Make that a root beer and a spicy chicken.”

      Good luck, compy.

  2. I wonder how this thing handles people like my buddy and I who sometimes like to mess around with drive-thru attendants. Slipping things like a peanut butter sandwich that aren’t on the menu into the order or asking for a Smarty McSorley at McDonald’s to see if they’re paying attention, trying to order breakfast at night before that was a thing you could do anywhere and making Carin think that a gentleman a few cars behind ours in line was going to end us all…that sort of thing. How do you train a conversational AI to deal with unexpected, humourous things like that? It requires a kind of logic that I don’t know how you could ever truly teach a machine.

    1. I really thought that was going to be my last night on this earth. As your buddy Greg was messing with the woman about bagels and arguing with her about how he would just like to take a frozen one home because he starts work before the bagels were available, a voice thunders from behind us. “She said no, Stupid! Move it!” I was sure we were all screwed. Was that the same night he asked for a treat of the week for “the little girl in the back?”

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