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Wendy’s customers could soon order from an AI chatbot at its drive-thru that’s been trained to recognize customer lingo like ‘biggie bags’ and ‘JBC’

Wendy's drive thruWendy’s is introducing a new AI chatbot to take customer’s orders at one of its restaurants.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

  • Wendy’s is automating its drive-through service and introducing an AI chatbot to take orders. 
  • The chatbot has been trained to recognize common abbreviations and lingo that customers use. 
  • A Wendy’s exec said the chatbot is “as good as our best customer service representative.”

Wendy’s is the latest company to join the AI-gravy train by automating its drive-through service using an artificial intelligence chatbot that is powered by software that was developed by Google, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The fast food chain plans to roll out the chatbot in June at one of its restaurants in Colombus, Ohio in order to streamline the ordering process and, therefore, cut back on lines that could turn customers away, Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor told the Journal. 

“It will be very conversational,” Penegor said to the Journal. “You won’t know you’re talking to anybody but an employee.” 

The chatbot has been trained to recognize customers’ lingo when they order items like burgers and fries from Wendy’s menu. For example: “JBC,” which stands for a junior bacon cheeseburger, or “biggie bags,” which refers to different combinations of burgers, chicken nuggets, and soft drinks, per the Journal. 

It’s also been trained to encourage customers to buy more by offering larger sizes or daily specials alongside their orders. Once the order has been taken, staff inside the restaurant are informed via a screen and the meal is then prepared and handed off to drivers through the pickup window. 

Penegor clarified to the Journal that the introduction of a drive-through chatbot does not mean workers will be replaced, but instead its expected to help workers do their job more efficiently as the chatbot can take on one of their many manual tasks. 

But Wendy’s chief information officer Kevin Vasconi told the Journal that tests run in recent months at the Colombus restaurant found that the chatbot is “as good as our best customer service representative, and it’s probably on average better.” 

A spokesperson for Wendy’s told Insider in a statement that because customers can fully customize their orders at Wendy’s, it leads to multiple different order combinations.

“A single order can require over 30 product decisions – this complexity has made it a challenge to implement conversational, automated ordering at scale for the QSR industry,” the spokesperson said. 

Since OpenAI launched its AI chatbot ChatGPT in November and became the fastest-growing consumer app in internet history, businesses have been deploying AI tools to streamline work and complete tasks more quickly. 

One CEO of an energy company said the company is using AI to respond to more than one third of customer emails, equivalent to the work of 250 people, Insider’s Bea Nolan reported

Read the original article on Business Insider