McDonald and IBM may Push For More AI-powered drive-thrus
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McDonald and IBM in a joint statement expressed their intention to push innovation across Digital, Delivery, and Drive-Thru to more restaurants. Both entered an agreement to accelerate McDonald’s efforts to provide a more convenient and unique customer and crew experience.

According to Restaurant Dive, McDonald’s in a move to further accelerate its efforts to improve its automated voice ordering systems will sell its McD Tech Labs to IBM.  

According to McDonald, the deal will help in offering the technology to more countries, languages, and menus and strengthen IBM’s Watson-powered customer service offerings.

Once the deal is finalized in December, McD Tech Labs will join IBM’s Cloud & Cognitive Software team.

Earlier Mcdonald’s has been testing its AI drive-thru order taking in 10 Chicago-area restaurants. The results have been satisfying, for both customers and staff, and it was clear the system needs improvement. 

The system required human intervention every fifth order due to its 85% accuracy. It will take more than a year or two to implement the technology on a broader scale, said  CEO Chris Kempczinski. He further added McDonald’s routinely bought companies (like the AI firm Apprente) for short stints before partnering with others to expand the technology. In this case, IBM  will turn out to be a key player in making AI drive-thrus a success, at McDonald’s and more locations.

The latest tech will save the staff from having to listen to orders at 2 AM, this may lead to the possibility of job cuts with the restaurant opting to reduce staff involved in preparing orders. It is not clear if the restaurant employees should be thrilled about it.

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