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Wendy's Just Struck a Deal That Will Drastically Change the Way It Operates

The company is adding new tech capabilities to its restaurants and drive-thrus.

Fast-food chains are gearing up their tech capabilities and soon, the landscape of the industry will be changed forever. McDonald's, for example, began testing a voice recognition software in Chicago which could remove human interaction from its drive-thru ordering process altogether.

Similarly, America's second-largest burger chain Wendy's is gearing up for some major tech upgrades of its own. The company has just struck a partnership with Google that will enable it to speed up its service and provide a more personalized approach to customers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the fast-food giant just announced a deal with Alphabet Inc.'s Google Cloud and will be able to utilize a vast pool of customer data it collected during the pandemic via its mobile app. On top of that, it will onboard new AI capabilities to predict customers' tastes and order preferences.

And these improvements could be coming to Wendy's in a matter of months. For more, check out Taco Bell Is Opening This Revolutionary New Restaurant.

1

Faster and more accurate drive-thrus

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Wendy's said it plans to use Google's AI to take customers' orders at the drive-thru and over the phone. The voice recognition technology would be able to transcribe the orders into text for the kitchen staff, which means humans taking orders could be a thing of the past.

And if you think that might open up a potential for mistakes in the ordering process, you're underestimating what AI can do these days. According to Wendy's Chief Information Officer Kevin Vasconi, the accuracy of orders, in fact, "goes way up."

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2

Anticipating your next order

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Soon, Wendy's might know what you're going to order before you do. Voice recognition might soon be used to identify you and your past orders, which will enable the chain to offer up your favorites first and make suggestions based on what food and drinks it thinks you might like.

"Digital transactions are data-rich," Kevin Vasconi said. "It's about unlocking that customer data to be more convenient."

3

Never running out of in-demand items

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Another big part of onboarding Google's technology at the restaurants is the potential for computer-vision technology. Just like AI can recognize your voice, computer vision means that software could recognize objects caught on video cameras. Down the line, this could be used to detect overwhelming drive-thru traffic and send an alert to line cooks to ramp up on the production of most popular orders, like fries.

4

Burgers at optimal doneness—every time

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Food quality control at Wendy's may become easier with the help of AI technology, too, which could keep track of cooking times and remind cooks when burgers need to be flipped on the grill. "The ability to apply vision in the store is a game-changer," Vasconi said.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more