As policymakers nationwide consider minimum wage hikes, executives at McDonald’s are testing new ways to automate their restaurants.
During an investor conference last week, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski announced that the fast food giant is experimenting with voice-ordering technology at ten restaurants in the Chicago area. The system is reportedly 85% accurate.
Kempczinski believes that the technology will appear in restaurants across the country within the next few years.
“There is a big leap between going from 10 restaurants in Chicago to 14,000 restaurants across the U.S. with an infinite number of promo permutations, menu permutations, dialect permutations, weather — I mean, on and on and on and on,” said Kempczinski. “Do I think in five years from now you’re going to see a voice in the drive-thru? I do, but I don’t think that this is going to be something that happens in the next year or so.”
Two years ago, McDonald’s purchased several artificial intelligence startups. Apprente, for example, can automate voice-based ordering in multiple languages.