McDonald’s Pulls AI-Driven Ordering System from Drive-Thrus

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.19 - 2024 5:45 PM CET

There has been numerous instances of misinterpreted orders.

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In a recent move, McDonald’s has decided to withdraw its AI-based ordering technology from drive-thru lanes.

According to wiadomoscihandlowe the decision stems from numerous instances of misinterpreted orders, which became a source of mockery online.

Bizarre Orders Go Viral

McDonald’s will remove the automatic ordering system from over 100 restaurants in the U.S. by the end of July.

Additionally, the company announced that it will terminate its global partnership with IBM, the developer of the system, by the end of the year.

The decision to pull the plug on the AI system followed a series of bizarre and incorrect orders that were documented and shared by customers on social media.

Videos showcasing these mishaps received significant attention, with some garnering up to 360,000 views.

Customers shared their frustration with the AI, which frequently misunderstood their requests. Instead of caramel sundaes, the system delivered extra servings of butter, or even bacon sundaes.

Other errors included orders for nine teas that were never requested and chicken nuggets worth millions of dollars.

Five Years of Development in Question

McDonald’s first announced the trial of the voice-recognition ordering system, developed in collaboration with IBM, back in 2019.

While the technology was initially met with controversy due to concerns about potential job losses, it has since proven challenging to implement effectively.

The suspension of the pilot program does not signify a complete abandonment of AI-driven ordering.

McDonald’s has stated that such technology will remain part of its future strategy, and the company will continue to evaluate scalable, long-term solutions.