The fast-food giant McDonald’s is constantly evolving, but the latest changes aren’t just about the menu. In some branches, saying the wrong thing means you won’t be served.

Over the years, McDonald’s, often recognized by its iconic “golden arches,” has made several adjustments, including shifting from plastic to more eco-friendly paper containers, installing order kiosks to reduce long lines, and updating their menu options. However, not all innovations have been well received. For instance, the introduction of a new veggie burger was met with mixed reviews from some patrons.

A noteworthy change in some McDonald’s locations is the specific phrasing customers must use when placing their orders. This isn’t about adding a courteous “please” to the order, although that would always be appropriate.

Artificial Intelligence Takes Orders at McDonald’s

Loose language is generally unhelpful when ordering. The reason behind this strict new rule is simple: the orders are processed by a computer system that only recognizes specific commands.

According to a post on Reddit, a McDonald’s drive-thru is testing an artificial intelligence system. A sign in English below the speaker provides this information. To facilitate the virtual assistant’s job, customers are asked to adhere to certain behaviors:

  1. Speak clearly and precisely.
  2. Use the exact names of the menu items.
  3. Respond to any questions from the AI before adding more items to the order.
  4. Conclude the order with “That’s it.”

Those skeptical of the technology need not worry about going hungry; they can request to be served by a human employee by simply saying “Team Member.”

Global AI Testing Aims to Enhance Customer and Employee Experience

The specific location of this AI trial is undisclosed but likely in the USA. McDonald’s, in collaboration with Google, has announced plans to test AI at thousands of its locations worldwide starting in 2024. This technology aims to streamline operations. “This will simplify restaurant management and enhance the experiences of our customers and staff alike,” said Brian Rice, Vice President of McDonald’s.

This innovation reflects McDonald’s ongoing commitment to leveraging technology to improve service efficiency and customer satisfaction. Whether this new ordering protocol will become a permanent feature remains to be seen, but it certainly marks a significant shift in how fast food could be ordered in the future.