Wendy’s Introduces Google-Powered Drive-Thru Chatbot

Knight Writer
3 min readMay 10
Photo by Batu Gezer on Unsplash

Over the next few years, there will be a tidal wave of layoffs in the fast food industry, as customer interaction will be increasingly handled by AI instead of people. Entry-level jobs like this are critical to adequately inducting young people into the workforce. Other customer-facing jobs in jeopardy? Bank tellers, tax preparers, lawyers, and financial advisors.

Yes, AI is taking over jobs at a rapid pace. Soon, most places will become fully automated for the sake of money.

The Google-Powered Chatbot

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Wendy’s Chief Executive Officer Todd Penegor, who stated that the fast-food chain’s chatbot would launch in June at a company-owned restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.

Penegor explained that Wendy’s drive-thru chatbot will be “very conversational.” He stated, “You will not realize you are conversing with anyone other than an employee.”

Wendy’s software engineers have collaborated with Google to develop a large language model capable of understanding words, popular expressions, and phrases in various dialects and accents. It understands Wendy’s-specific acronyms, such as “JBC” for a junior bacon cheeseburger.

You cannot make this up! 🤯

According to WSJ, the drive-thru chatbot is programmed to upsell by asking consumers if they want to combine orders or increase sizes. When the order is complete, humans in the kitchen (who will one day be replaced by robot chefs) will prepare the food, which will then be bagged and set at the window for pickup.

Kevin Vasconi, chief information officer at Wendy’s, told WSJ that the chatbot is “probably on average better” than the company’s best customer service representatives. He says the chatbot aims to enhance drive-thru service speed and consistency. Drive-throughs account for approximately 80% of all food orders.

photo by the author

In addition to Wendy’s, I have described the efforts of other fast-food restaurants, such as McDonald’s, to automate their stores and eliminate human labor:

Knight Writer

I say what I want to say, if you do not like it kindly move away. My website is digiwhealth.com