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Wendy's Is Partnering With Google to Launch an AI Ordering System The system will be rolled out at a company-owned location in June.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bloomberg | Getty Images
The drive-thru line at a Wendy's restaurant in Pinole, California in 2021.

In 2021, Wendy's partnered with Google to bolster the fast food chain's systems with data-driven insights, machine learning, and hybrid cloud tools. Now, the two companies are expanding their partnership to automate Wendy's ordering system with artificial intelligence.

Wendy's will be piloting an AI-powered chatbot to automate drive-thru ordering, a project called "Wendy's FreshAI."

"Google Cloud's generative AI technology creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers," said Todd Penegor, president and CEO of Wendy's, in a statement.

The chatbot will be taught how to understand made-to-order requests, answer frequently asked questions, and have conversations with customers.

According to the press release, 75-80% of Wendy's customers choose drive-thru as their preferred ordering option, making it one of the most crucial systems for the company to streamline and guarantee a seamless experience void of miscommunication.

Wendy's intends to use the AI-powered drive-thru system to simplify the ordering process so that workers can serve orders faster, more efficiently, and reduce wait times.

Related: Woman Fires Off Gunshots at Drive-Thru Because Her Order Was 'Taking Too Long'

The first pilot will launch at a company-owned location in Columbus, Ohio in June, and will use findings to inform future integration of the AI-ordering system to other locations.

The move by Wendy's is the latest in the ongoing trend of companies looking to implement AI to automate systems that, until now, needed a human. A recent report by the World Economic Forum — which surveyed over 800 companies — estimated that about 14 million jobs could be eliminated by 2027, mostly in administrative positions (which, in certain cases, can be replaced by chatbots).

"We do not anticipate reducing labor, but instead, shifting crew responsibilities to meet the increased volume of Wendy's orders expected in the drive-thru and across our growing digital channels, meeting our customers where and how they want to enjoy Wendy's," a spokesperson for Wendy's told Entrepreneur.

Related: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence In The Food Industry: How Startups Are Captivating Early Adopting F&B Operators to Tackle Theft and Waste

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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