McDonald's tests automated drive-thrus in Chicago



June 3, 2021


McDonald's is testing automated drive-thrus at 10 locations in its home base city of Chicago. The systems use AI software and come as a result of the company's Apprente acquisition two years ago, according to CNBC. Apprente specializes in just these types of systems.


McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski told the ne3ws outlet that, at this point, the system has an approximate 85% accuracy and can handle about 80% of a given location's orders. But he added it's unlikely the technology would roll out to the company's 14,000-plus U.S. stores within the next five years. Kempczinski relayed information about the company's use of the systems in the test locations at Alliance Bernstein's Strategic Decisions conference.


Kempczinski said the move was part of the chain's efforts to automate more services. But taking it to a larger scale, he said, would be complicated by the many variations in menus, promotions and even dialects across the nation...