Google’s AI Now Jumping Into Fast Food

Panchenko Vladimir /
Panchenko Vladimir /

Once known as the only major fast-food chain to say their beef was fresh and never frozen, Wendy’s carved out a nice niche for itself. As the word spread, even their Twitter operator got in on the fun and ensured people knew all about their beef. Even ensuring people got the flame-roasting they would ask the account for, with little held back.

Now they have abandoned that social media direction. Instead, users who visit their account are greeted (if you can call it that) by AI ran postings, with little to no personality. Now Wendy’s wants to bring that same dry personality to the drive-thru lanes everywhere. Powered by Google’s AI, the initiative is named “Wendy’s FreshAI,” and is currently testing at four corporate locations in Columbus, OH.

Matt Spessard, the chief technology officer at Wendy’s is excited about this change and thinks Wendy’s is breaking new ground. “Wendy’s FreshAI is not just a speaker and a microphone. It’s a personalized, responsive experience for every customer.” Attempting to beat fellow giant McDonald’s to the punch, other companies like Checkers, Hardees, Carls Jr., and Dunkin’ Doughnuts are all also looking into the technology.

So far, the tests have proved to be a great success for the locations. With less overhead by no longer needing a dedicated window person, stores claim they can save money and eventually lower prices. The accuracy of orders at these locations reached 86% but jumped to 99% when the humans pitched in.

Perhaps Wendy’s needs to take the hint, and read the writing on the wall. AI is a useful invention, and when done right it can be a huge help. The problem is, that it needs to be limited. AI becomes a replacement for people, and not just a tool at a certain point. If they don’t watch it, that could quickly become the full reality.