Wendy’s and Google Cloud announced they are working together on a generative artificial intelligence (AI) solution dubbed Wendy’s FreshAI, specially designed for QSR. It will enable a quicker and more consistent drive-thru ordering experience. “The technology has the potential to transform Wendy’s drive-thru food ordering experience with Google Cloud’s generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology,” Google Cloud said in a statement.
In June, Wendy’s plans to launch its first pilot of Google Cloud’s AI technology in a Columbus, OH-area, company-operated restaurant. The pilot will include new generative AI tools, 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. It will be powered by Google’s foundational LLMs that have the data from Wendy’s menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the Point of Sale system.
Around 75 – 80% of Wendy’s customers use drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel. The challenges of having AI deliver a seamless ordering experience stem from the complexities of menu options, special requests, and ambient noise. For example, because customers can fully customize their orders and food is prepared when ordered at Wendy’s, this presents billions of possible order combinations available on the menu, leaving room for miscommunication or incorrect orders.
Google Cloud says its generative AI capabilities can now bring a new automated ordering experience to the drive-thru that is intended to enhance the experience that customers, employees and franchisees expect from Wendy’s.
“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, President and CEO of Wendy’s. “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.”
“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, Google Cloud CEO. “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.”
Photo: Wendy’s social media