Most AI-Operated Drive-Thrus Need Human Workers, Report Says

The drive-thru lane is one of the latest places in daily American life getting an AI-powered makeover. But it isn’t perfect, and it often requires real-life humans listening to customers place orders to accurately take them. 

A recent SEC filing from Presto Automation, a company providing this drive-thru automation technology, broke down how often humans are needed to intervene in the AI chatbot’s work. 

“Currently, over 70 percent of orders taken by our Presto Voice solution require human agent intervention,” the company said in the filing. “As we continue to improve our AI accuracy and further deploy Presto Voice across store locations, we believe that the percentage of orders that do not require any human agent intervention will reach 30 percent or better.”

Fast food chains across the country have been increasingly implementing AI solutions to take orders, with restaurants like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Popeyes, and Wingstop using AI-powered voice bots at the drive-thru and over the phone. Presto’s technology has been adopted by chains like Del Taco, Hardee’s, Checkers, and Carl’s Jr. According to Bloomberg, it uses off-site human workers in places like the Philippines to operate the technology, rather than employees inside the restaurant. 

The more orders completed using Presto Voice, the company said, the better the AI will work when taking customer orders in the future. “Further increasing automation of orders through our improving AI engine and continuing to optimize human intervention will allow us to maintain desired levels of order accuracy,” the filing read. 

Next time you’re at the drive-thru, make sure to speak clearly just in case. 

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