Not lovin' it.

Fry Boys

Fast food chain McDonald's is giving up on its AI-powered drive-thru system, following a string of hilarious yet infuriating failures that resulted in unlucky customers ending up with over $250 worth of chicken McNuggets and unwanted packs of butter.

According to industry publication Restaurant Business, McDonald's is terminating its drive-thru AI test, a joint venture with tech giant IBM, and is officially removing the tech from more than 100 restaurants.

The chain isn't giving up on AI entirely, though, with McDonald’s USA chief restaurant officer Mason Smoot vowing that "we feel there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly" in a statement.

The news should come as a delight to customers, who have struggled to put in their orders at the drive-thru, sometimes sharing clips of their infuriating run-ins on social media.

The incidents highlight that the tech is far from ready to replace restaurant workers, and often still leads to frustration and outrage. Of course, that's not to mention McDonald's naked attempt to replace human labor with an automated system.

Infinite Nuggets

Unfortunately for fast food lovers, customers should still expect more AI to be baked into McDonald's operations in the future. While it's unclear how exactly their experience will be affected, the company signed a "strategic partnership" with Google to deploy generative AI tech in December, with "thousands" of stores reportedly getting both hardware and software upgrades sometime this year.

McDonald's remained incredibly vague in its statement at the time, promising "hotter, fresher food" for customers by streamlining its operations using generative AI.

And customers should expect to encounter shoddy AI integration at other drive-thru lanes as well. Burger chain Wendy's has also partnered with Google to develop AI-enabled, drive-thru tech.

Meanwhile, other chains including Carl's Jr. and Checkers have been caught outsourcing the task to workers in the Philippines after announcing their own "AI" drive-thrus.

For now, hungry clients can rest assured that they can encounter a human being at the other end of the line when picking up a quarter pounder on the way home from work.

More on AI drive-thrus: Busted! Drive-Thru Run by "AI" Actually Operated by Humans in the Philippines

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