The future of fast food just hit a speed bump with the grace of a soggy fry. McDonald’s has decided to pull the plug on its AI drive-thru experiment. That’s right, the world’s biggest burger peddler is ditching its robotic order takers in over 100 locations across the U.S.

Three years and out.

The grand experiment started in 2021 with a partnership between McDonald’s and IBM, featuring a chatbot designed to take your order. But alas, the golden arches’ dreams of a chatbot utopia will come to an end on July 26th.

McDonald’s hasn’t given a public reason for this about-face but they’re dangling the carrot of a future voice-ordering solution to keep us guessing.

Don’t think McDonald’s is the only one trying to replace human workers with machines though. The entire fast-food kingdom, from Wendy’s to Del Taco, has been jumping on the AI bandwagon.

They won’t be deterred though, AI is the answer to high labor costs and short staffing.

Translation: they’re all in on replacing cashiers with AI. And who can blame them with Democrats forcing minimum wage increases on businesses – and the cost of everything is going up due to Bidenomics. If the restaurants don’t figure out a way how to outlast Democrats, restaurants EVERYWHERE will be gone soon.

But the current AI, or at least IBM’s version, isn’t exciting anyone.

AI isn’t exactly “I” when it comes to order taking.

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For example, remember those viral TikTok videos of McDonald’s AI drive-thru failing spectacularly? Who could forget the charming AI that added 500 McNuggets to an order or insisted that a customer wanted butter packets with their burger? The customer is NOT always right when it comes to AI.

And it gets juicier. Some of these AI systems aren’t as independent as they seem. Presto Automation Inc, another player in the AI fast-food game, disclosed that about 70% of the time, real humans (often from the Philippines) had to step in to assist AI. So much for cutting labor costs, huh?

So, where does this leave us? McDonald’s AI dream might be on hold, but the company hasn’t given up on automation just yet. They’re planning to make up their minds by the end of the year. Until then, we can only hope our orders will be taken by a real, live human who knows the difference between a McDouble and a McNugget.