AI-Powered Fast Food Drive Thrus Make ‘So Many Errors’ That Workers Must Intervene 70% Of The Time, Employees Say



Carls Jr Restaurant. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

By Brooke Mallory
4:25 PM – Thursday, December 7, 2023

An artificial intelligence company that serves the likes of fast food brands like Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Del Taco, and Checkers has now acknowledged that most orders require human participation.

For drive-thru orders, Presto Automation offers a conversational chatbot that always remembers to upsell. It aims to assist in addressing the industry’s labor shortage and turn-around rate.

However, as per business filings, the corporation has said that “off-site agents’” assist with more than 70% of purchases to ensure that the AI system does not malfunction or input the wrong items.

It appears that human intervention is required to fix the consistent mistakes, such as when an AI robot misunderstands and gives a vegetarian a beef quesadilla rather than a meatless one.

The employees—many of whom are stationed abroad in nations like the Philippines—will assist in training the system so that eventually it will require less human interaction, a representative told Bloomberg News.

As per the outlet, the corporation has made changes to its website to indicate that purchases placed using its “Presto Voice” software are verified by fast food employees.

“Thanks to our superior AI engine, Presto Voice consistently takes over 95 percent of the orders without any human intervention,” the website claimed in August.

However, in November, the website’s edited statement read: “Thanks to our superior AI engine augmented by advanced human supervision, Presto Voice consistently takes up to 95 percent of drive-thru orders without any restaurant staff intervention.”

The adjustments were made in response to the company’s notification earlier in the year that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was looking into disclosures it had made “regarding certain aspects of its AI technology.”

The developers of ChatGPT, OpenAI, and Presto announced a partnership in March to enhance the functionality of Presto Voice.

According to its website, Presto, which also collaborates with large chains including Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and Chili’s, intends to grow to 1,200 sites by 2024.

CEO Xavier Casanova stated during a recent earnings conference that the AI solution is currently being used in more than 400 places around the United States.

According to Stock Analysis, Presto’s market worth has dropped to about $59 million as a result of the company’s shares falling more than 60% this year.

In general, fast food businesses are introducing automation into their operations more and more. Chains are using robots to welcome customers, prepare espressos, and flip hamburgers at a fraction of the expense of hiring human labor.

For instance, Chipotle has a single-armed robot at one store that makes tortilla chips, while Starbucks has at least 1,200 locations with $18,000 AI-powered espresso equipment.

CEO Xavier Casanova stated during a recent earnings conference that the AI solution is currently being used in more than 400 locations around the United States.

 

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