Fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Sonic and Chipotle have been experimenting with AI-powered voice bots to take orders over the phone or in drive-thru for a few years now.
But some McDonald’s customers are taking to TikTok to express their frustration, but also their uncontrollable laughter, after seeing what they had been given of everything but what they had ordered.
In a video from @themaddivlog that has gone viral, a young woman is seen struggling to order vanilla ice cream. “I just want a big glass of water and ice cream,” insists the tiktoker.
He is exasperated when the menu shows that he has ordered 2 butters and 4 packets of ketchup. Text overlay on the video reads: “Struggling with the McDonald’s robot.”
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“McDonald’s, it’s over. We’re done.”
Another tiktoker garnered 97,000 views on a post explaining how “bots are taking over the world” and screwing up your McDonald’s orders. In the video, she says that the bot put 9 sweet teas in her order, when she only asked for one.
Another frustrated drive-thru customer posted a video on TikTok titled: “McDonald’s robot is wild.”
@typical_redhead_ could be heard giggling and puffing as he told the bot to “stop” multiple times. The digital menu displayed an excessive amount of ordered McNuggets, totaling over $250.
The tiktoker @That_usa_guy_ was not so amused.
His video showed the bot substituting his Mountain Dew order for a medium Coke.
In defense of the bot, McDonald’s restaurants it must be said that the chain does not serve Mountain Dew, they only serve Coca-Cola.
When the TikToker tried to correct the drink mistake, the voice bot seemed to ignore his request and forwarded him to payment.
“No, this is not right,” he yells at the bot. So he canceled the order and started over. At that point, the bot handed the order over to a “crew member” to complete the order.
McDonald’s has been testing AI-powered ordering in its drive-thru since 2019. Some of the digital menu boards use artificial intelligence to sell items based on order trends or the weather it does.
This is how the interactive screens of the restaurants look at you so that you can choose the ‘most appropriate’ menu according to your height, sex, age and state of mind
Those restaurants still have people ordering, but some just have the voice bots, though it’s unknown how many.
McDonald’s could not be reached for comment.
Despite the apparent failures that some users have shown on social networks, restaurant chains are embracing automation to facilitate operations in a context of labor shortages.
Last year, McDonald’s opened a new restaurant in Texas with an almost fully automated format. It has a lane to collect digital orders on a food and beverage conveyor belt. Customers place orders at kiosks and pick them up on shelves.