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06/07/2021

McDonald's Adds AI Voice Tech in Drive-Thru

Ten McDonald’s drive-thrus in Chicago are using the voice ordering tech.
graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message

McDonald's is using voice-ordering technology in 10 of its drive-thrus in Chicago.

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski  shared the news at the Alliance Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference on June 3, according to Fox Business.

The news comes as consumer demand for drive-thru has been at an all-time high and hospitality brands nationwide are struggling to fill open positions. Drive-thru visits have increased 36% since the early days of the pandemic with 9 out of 10 visiting in the last month, according to the State of What Feeds Us report.

McDonal's news comes 20 months after the global QSR bought Apprente, the tech company that builds AI-powered voice platforms. The AI-powered voice technology is engaging with drive-thru customers and getting orders right 85% of the time Plus it can take about 80% of customer orders and will likely take a few years to roll out, CEO Chris Kempczinski said, according to the report.   

Investing in Technology

McDonald’s is a heavy investor in technology, purchasing two technology brands and investing in a third to build on several key technology initiatives to improve the employee and customer experience. In April 2019, McDonald's acquired Dynamic Yield, a leader in personalization and decision logic technology.

Digital menu boards play a major role in experience of the future (EOTF) concept. The global QSR rolled out Dynamic Yield’s machine learning technology that makes suggestions based on time of day, weather and popular menu items via outdoor digital menu boards to thousands of U.S. and Australian drive-thrus.

McDonald’s also invested in Plexure, which has played an important role in McDonald’s focus on digital transformation, powering a version of McDonald’s Global Mobile App in 48 countries outside the U.S.