McDonalds Abandons Useless AI That Can't Get Any Orders Right

The iconic yellow arches of the McDonalds logo on a sign in front of a blue sky with clouds
Credit: McDonalds

The iconic yellow arches of the McDonalds logo on a sign in front of a blue sky with clouds
Credit: McDonalds

There’s no shortage of stories about AI going horribly wrong. A quick Google search reveals countless mishaps, including an infamous instance where Google AI advised someone to drink urine. Unsurprisingly, AI and restaurants don’t mix well either, as McDonald's is now pulling its ineffective drive-through technology.

Although the fast food chain wasn't using the best AI chatbots, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4o, it was collaborating with IBM on Automated Order Taking (AOT) to streamline drive-through operations. However, despite the technology's presence since 2021, its expanded use has been nothing short of disastrous.

According to a report from Restaurant Business, McDonald's is removing AI from more than 100 restaurants where it has been in use, ending the current phase of AOT by the end of July. Despite these setbacks, McDonald's remains optimistic about the future of AI within the company.

"After a thoughtful review, McDonald's has decided to end our current partnership with IBM on AOT, and the technology will be shut off in all restaurants currently testing it no later than July 26, 2024,” stated Mason Smoot, Chief Restaurant Officer for McDonald's USA, in an email to franchisees obtained by Restaurant Business.

In a statement to the publication, McDonald's said, "We see tremendous opportunity in advancing our restaurant technology and 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.”

Given the problems caused by the AI, it’s no surprise that it has been paused indefinitely. One TikTok video shows the AI adding over $200 worth of McNuggets to an order, while another instance involved someone receiving bacon on their ice cream.

As companies rush to enter the AI market, some seem overly eager to incorporate the technology. For every promising tool like Apple's iOS 18 AI features, there are too many failures, such as Microsoft halting its Recall AI or AI learning to deceive humans. At the very least, mistakes in McDonald's orders won't lead to human extinction, unlike the grim predictions made by some AI experts.

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