In the near future, you could order your Big Mac from a bot. Or maybe you already have…
Restaurants have been experimenting more and more with AI and robots, especially as companies struggle to find entry-level workers.
McDonald’s has been working on tech-savvy drive-thrus for a while
In 2019, it acquired the startup Apprente, which specializes in voice ordering, and created McD Tech Labs. In June, it tested the tech in 10 Chicago drive-thrus, allowing customers to tell a computer their order. The bots were ~85% accurate.
At that time, CEO Chris Kempczinski told CNBC that McDonald’s acquisition strategy was to bring companies in house for a short period, then find a partner to scale it.
And that’s exactly what McDonald’s did
Last week, McDonald’s announced the sale of its Automated Order Taking (AOT) tech to IBM, which will also acquire McD Tech Labs.
McDonalds has a long way to go before it can roll out AI to all 14k of its US restaurants. But as it stands, 20% of orders in McD’s 6 top markets are already made digitally through apps, kiosks, or for delivery, accounting for $13B in sales, per Restaurant Dive.
Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox
Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less