The Wendy’s Co. has teamed with Google Cloud to test artificial intelligence technology at a company-operated drive-thru in June, the companies said today.
Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Google Cloud said the pilot project is aimed at creating a quick and consistent drive-thru ordering experience.
Wendy’s announcement comes amid other brands deploying artificial intelligence to drive-thru ordering, including CKE Restaurant Holdings, parent to the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands, with a platform called “Tori” and Del Taco Holdings Inc. working with Presto Automation Inc. at some drive-thrus.
Wendy’s expanded partnership with Google Cloud, called Wendy’s FreshAI, is designed to use Google Cloud’s generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology.
Wendy’s said about 80% of its customers use the drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel. However, difficulties arise with the complexities of menu options, special requests, and ambient noise.
“Wendy’s introduced the first modern pick-up window in the industry more than 50 years ago, and we’re thrilled to continue our work with Google Cloud to bring a new wave of innovation to the drive-thru experience,” said Todd Penegor, Wendy’s president and CEO, in a statement.
“Google Cloud’s generative AI technology creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers, and allows our employees to continue focusing on making great food and building relationships with fans that keep them coming back time and again,” Penegor said.
Wendy’s said the June pilot will include new generative AI offerings, such as Vertex AI and more, to have conversations with customers, the ability to understand made-to-order requests, and generate responses to frequently asked questions.
The large-language models technology will include data from Wendy’s menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the point-of-sale system, the companies said.
“Wendy’s has always been at the forefront of innovation, and we’re thrilled to build upon our partnership with the company with our new generative AI technologies,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud. “Generative AI is fundamentally changing how people interact with brands, and we anticipate Wendy’s integration of Google Cloud’s generative AI technology will set a new standard for great drive-thru experiences for the quick-service industry.”
Google and Wendy’s have partnered since 2021, when the burger brand Google Cloud's data analytics, AI, machine learning, and hybrid cloud tools to make it faster, easier, and more convenient for customers to access the brand.
Wendy’s, founded in 1969, has about 7,000 restaurants worldwide.
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