McDonald’s just proved this new technology is a flop

Dirk Tussing from Chicago IL, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0,, via Wikimedia Commons

It seems like a brand-new form of technology comes out almost every day.

While some of this technology is exciting and useful, some of it isn’t as great as it’s made out to be.

And McDonald’s just proved this new technology is a flop.

McDonald’s says goodbye to AI ordering at drive-throughs

Fast food company McDonald’s recently informed its franchisees that it plans to end its artificial intelligence (AI) drive-through order-taking program for good.

A message obtained by Restaurant Business Magazine revealed that McDonald’s USA Chief Restaurant Officer Mason Smoot made the announcement.

“After a thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current partnership with IMB on AOT (Automated Order Taking) and the technology will be shut off in all restaurants currently testing it no later than July 26, 2024,” Smoot said.

According to the magazine, over 100 McDonald’s locations have been testing the new AI ordering technology since 2021.

Smoot added that while there were some “successes to date,” the company felt that “there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly.”

He also noted that the company will eventually make “an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year.”

In a statement to FOX Business, McDonald’s said that the goal of the AI test “was to determine if an automated voice ordering solution could simplify operations for crew and create a faster, improved experience for our fans.”

The company noted that through its unique partnership with IBM, it was able to capture “many learnings,” but after giving it a “thoughtful review,” it decided to “end [its] current global partnership with IBM on AOT beyond this year.”

“IBM remains a trusted partner and we will still utilize many of their products across our global system,” the statement continued.

New food ordering tech could be on the horizon

It appears that a possible new voice-ordering solution for McDonald’s drive-throughs could be part of its future. 

The company said that its work with IBM has given them confidence that there is a “tremendous opportunity in advancing our restaurant technology and [we] will continue to evaluate long-term, scalable solutions that will help us make an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year.”

As for IBM, the company told Restaurant Business that it developed the technology with McDonald’s “to support the emerging use of voice-activated AI in restaurant drive-thrus.”

They also said that the technology is now proven to have “some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions.”

“While McDonald’s is reevaluating and refining its plans for AOT, we look forward to continuing to work with them on a variety of other projects,” IBM said.

For now, it looks like artificial intelligence isn’t the way of the future that everyone thought it would be.

Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.