Wendy's to Experiment with AI Chatbot at Columbus Restaurant

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DUBLIN, Ohio (WTVN)--Wendy's restaurant will experiment with an AI chatbot at a Columbus-area location this summer.

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the company is partnering with Google Cloud on the service. The chatbot will take customer orders in the drive-thru, and be trained to handle complex orders, and even generate small talk.

The Dublin-based company says 75 to 80% of customers order through the drive-thru, and notes, "delivering a seamless ordering experience using AI automation can be difficult due to 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 Wendy's menu, leaving room for miscommunication or incorrect orders. Google Cloud's 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."

The program will be launched in June, at a company-owned restaurant in the Columbus area.

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