Panera is testing out AI technology to take orders in the drive-thrus of two New York restaurants.
Popeyes is also using the same tech, and has reported successful results so far.
I thought it made ordering much easier, and I hope more restaurants in my area adopt it. 

In August, Panera announced plans to test AI technology in some Western New York drive-thrus.

I went to one of the test locations in Greece, New York to see if the drive-thru tech lived up to the hype, or if it was too good to be true.

Panera first launched drive-thrus in 2010, and in recent years has invested heavily with 44% of locations including drive-thrus by the end of 2021.

The location I visited looked like a typical fast food drive-thru, with one lane and a menu board.

It wasn’t particularly busy at about 8:30 am on a Wednesday morning, but the parking lot was very full.

I don’t frequent Panera, so I ran into the same issue that I faced last time in the drive-thru where I found it difficult to take in the menu before ordering, and I wished there was a way to order in the app for drive-thru pickup.

The actual ordering process, though, was smoother than I expected.

A small sign next to the menu board confirmed that the automated ordering system was in use.

When I pulled up to the speaker, the AI introduced itself as “Tori” in a woman’s voice similar to Siri or Alexa.

It was very easy to understand Tori’s followup questions, like asking if I wanted to add a drink or anything else to the order.

At the end of the order, Tori read everything back to me to make sure it was correct, which I also thought was helpful.

The only slight misunderstanding was that the AI interpreted “black coffee” as dark roast coffee.

After ordering, I pulled up to the window where an actual person was waiting to take my payment and hand me my order.

The human touch was nice to have, especially when the worker asked if my dog wanted a cup of whipped cream.

My order came out exactly right.

This was only my second Panera drive-thru experience, but I think the AI ordering system made it …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

I tested out Panera’s new ‘automated’ drive-thru and now I think every fast food chain should use it

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