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McDonald’s Is Updating Their Drive Thrus In A Big Way And I Can’t Wait

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How come, when I go to McDonald’s, my order is wrong about 95.7% of the time? It is so frustrating!

Well, they just might be about to fix part of that problem.

McDonald’s, in one Chicago suburb, is testing out the use of AI order taking at their drive thrus.

What does that mean?

Well, you might notice a slightly computerized, very soothing voice taking your drive thru chicken McNugget order.

The voice is a feminine robotic order taker — not unlike an Alexa or a Siri.

Why are they going to an AI order taker at their drive thurs?

Well, the fast-food race these days is all about speed of service at the drive thru.

In 2019 the average McDonald’s drive-thru took six minutes and 18 seconds, but recently the company trimmed that to five minutes and 49 seconds in 2020.

CNN Buisiness

And, a LARGE part of their business, I’d venture to say the MAJORITY of their business, come from their drive thru sales.

ESPECIALLY in the last year since the pandemic started. Drive thrus have been the lifeline that have kept restaurants afloat in a lot of cases.

For chains that already had drive-thus, slow service, long lines and inaccurate orders are seen as threats after a year in which sales took a hit at nearly every major chain.

CNN Buisiness

Some restaurant chains, like McDonald’s, had already been working on AI technology for their drive thrus before the coronovirus came to bless us all with its presence, but this pandemic has sent the need for this technology into hyperdrive.

Courtesy of 97saturnsl2 on Instagram

In some locations, McDonald’s has even tests an AI technology that would scan license plates of the customers in the drive thrus.

That way, when the customers would come back for another visit, the technology could suggest additional items based on previous purchases.

Courtesy of robintaylor5150 on Instagram

The drive-thru customers could even be asked if they would like to reorder from their previously purchased items.

I mean, that is pretty darn cool.

They are hoping that this type of ordering will take some of the pressure off the employees, and allow them to focus on getting the orders out accurately, and in a quick manner.

I must admit, I’m hoping for the same thing!

Courtesy of baitwithkate on Instagram

Humans sometimes forget to greet people, they forget, they make mistakes, they don’t hear as well,” Lucy Brady, McDonald’s chief digital customer engagement officer, explained to CNN Business. “A machine can actually have a consistent greeting and remain calm under pressure.

CNN Buisiness

I think this technology is going to be pretty awesome, and I hope they are able to get it in my area sooner rather than later.

Courtesy of coolasleicester on Instagram

My only hope is that this new drive thru technology is not like that pesky call you make, only to get stuck in that endless loop. “Press, or say 1. Press, or say 2. Or you can say ‘representative.'”

Gah! Those are the WORST.

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  1. As someone who has worked at McDonalds, its not the people who take your orders fault. They read it back to you and its on your freaking receipt. Its the grill and front window that messes up orders. Common sense people.

  2. I never get my order right at any McDonald’s. Its very frustrating and they are very rude when I go back to tell.them.

  3. One problem here is AI and accents…. I have had Siri for over two years now and there are times when she still doesn’t understand what I am saying. Living in the country our accents are similar however in Chicago there will be a varying amount of accents. Good luck…. the wrong order isn’t always at the window. Try hiring enough people to get the orders out and managers that actually help their workers. By the way… I was a swing manager for over 8 years….

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