Wendy’s is piloting Google Cloud’s generative AI tech to improve ordering experience at drive thru
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
DUBLIN, Ohio and SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 9, 2023 — Wendy’s® and Google Cloud expand partnership to pilot a artificial intelligence (AI) solution, Wendy’s FreshAI, designed to revolutionize the quick service restaurant industry. The technology has the potential to transform Wendy’s drive-thru food ordering experience with Google Cloud’s generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology.
With 75 to 80 percent of Wendy’s customers choosing the drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel, 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.
“Wendy’s introduced the first modern pick-up window in the industry more than 50 years ago, and we’re thrilled to continue our work with Google Cloud to bring a new wave of innovation to the drive-thru experience,” said Todd Penegor, President and CEO of Wendy’s. “Google Cloud’s generative AI technology creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers, and allows our employees to continue focusing on making great food and building relationships with fans that keep them coming back time and again.”
In June, Wendy’s plans to launch its first pilot of Google Cloud’s AI technology in a Columbus, OH-area, Company-operated restaurant, using those learnings to inform future expansions to more Wendy’s drive-thrus. The pilot will include new generative AI offerings, such as Vertex AI and more, to have conversations with customers, the ability to understand made-to-order requests and generate responses to frequently asked questions.
This will all be powered by Google’s foundational LLMs that have the data from Wendy’s menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the Point of Sale system. By leveraging generative AI, Wendy’s seeks to take the complexity out of the ordering process so employees can focus on serving up fast, fresh-made, quality food and exceptional service.
“Wendy’s has always been at the forefront of innovation, and we’re thrilled to build upon our partnership with the company with our new generative AI technologies,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud. “Generative AI is fundamentally changing how people interact with brands, and we anticipate Wendy’s integration of Google Cloud’s generative AI technology will set a new standard for great drive-thru experiences for the quick-service industry.”
Today’s update builds upon Google Cloud’s and Wendy’s long standing partnership to enhance the Wendy’s restaurant experience. Since 2021, Wendy’s has leveraged Google Cloud’s data analytics, AI, machine learning (ML), and hybrid cloud tools to make it faster, easier, and more convenient for customers to access the brand.
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- Learn more about generative AI on Google Cloud here.
- Learn more about Wendy’s on The Square Deal blog here.
Wendy’s was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. Dave built his business on the premise, “Quality Is Our Recipe®”, which remains the guidepost of the Wendy’s system. Wendy’s is best known for its made-to-order square hamburgers, using fresh, never frozen beef, freshly-prepared salads, and other signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty® dessert. The Wendy’s Company (Nasdaq: WEN) is committed to doing the right thing and making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is most visible through the Company’s support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and its signature Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, which seeks to find a loving, forever home for every child in the North American foster care system. Today, Wendy’s and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across approximately 7,000 restaurants worldwide with a vision of becoming the world’s most thriving and beloved restaurant brand. For details on franchising, connect with us at www.wendys.com/franchising. Visit www.wendys.com and www.squaredealblog.com for more information and connect with us on Twitter and Instagram using @wendys, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wendys.
****Fresh beef available in the contiguous U.S., Alaska and Canada.
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