For a few years now, fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Sonic, and Chipotle have been experimenting with voice bots that AI drives to take phone and drive-thru orders. But some McDonald’s customers on TikTok are expressing annoyance — and in some cases, uncontrollable laughter — following encounters with speech bots that can’t accurately take their orders.
A young woman wearing an Adidas beanie is shown in a popular post by @themaddivlog stumbling to purchase a cup of vanilla ice cream. The TikToker argues, “I just want a large water and a cup of ice cream.”
McDonald’s robot is crazy.
She becomes angry when she sees that she purchased two kinds of butter and four ketchup packets on the order display menu. The video’s text overlay reads, “Fighting with McDonald’s robot.” After many efforts to clarify her order, she ends the video: “McDonald’s, I’m done. We’re done.” Another TikToker’s post explaining how “robots are taking over the world” and messing up her McDonald’s order garnered 97,000 views. The speech bot allegedly added nine to her order tab when she requested one sweet tea.
How did I end up a butter #fyp
The McDonald’s robot is crazy is the title of a TikTok video that another unhappy drive-thru customer submitted. @typical redhead told the bot “stop” a few times while laughing and snorting. A high proportion of McNugget dinners, worth more than $250, were ordered, according to the digital menu board.
TikToker @That_usa_guy_ was not as amused. His video showed the bot swapping a medium Coke for the Mountain Dew he had requested. In the bot’s defence, Mountain Dew beverages aren’t offered in McDonald’s locations. They provide Coca-Cola drinks.
Trying the McDonald’s AI drive thru….Again @McDonald’s Corporate #fail
In Texas, a fully automated restaurant was opened
The speech bot ignored the TikToker’s attempt to correct the beverage error and continued telling him his check total. He replied to the robot, “No, that’s not correct. The lunch was then cancelled and started over. A “crew member” was then given the command by the bot to finish the dinner.
Since 2019, McDonald’s has been experimenting with AI-powered ordering in their drive-through lanes. Depending on the weather or popular food items, some digital menu boards employ artificial intelligence to upsell menu items. Although some McDonald’s restaurants use speech bots to take orders, such establishments still have staff members accepting orders. Uncertain how many.
In Texas, McDonald’s unveiled a new style of restaurant that was nearly automated last year. It offers an order-ahead lane for picking up digital orders from a food and beverage conveyor. Customers use kiosks to place orders, which they pick up from shelves. No one from McDonald’s was available for comment.