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5 Things
Wendy_s_Voice_AI-MEDIA_0.jpeg The Wendy’s  Co.
The Wendy’s  Co. has teamed with Google Cloud to test artificial intelligence technology.

5 tech things: Major chains look to AI to boost efficiencies and profitability

This and a video showing an elementary school’s use of biometric lunch line scanner are some of the tech-related developments you may have missed recently.

In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.

Here’s your list for today:

1.    Wendy’s to open AI-powered drive-thru

The Wendy’s  Co. has teamed with Google Cloud to test artificial intelligence technology at a company-operated drive-thru in June. Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Google Cloud said the pilot project is aimed at creating a quick and consistent drive-thru ordering experience.

Read more: Wendy’s teams with Google to test drive-thru artificial intelligence

2.    AI also coming to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s

CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is rolling out artificial intelligence at its drive-thrus. The company is partnering with AI companies Presto Automation, OpenCity, and Valyant AI to automate voice ordering at participating drive-thru locations across the country, according to news releases. Carl's Jr. and Hardee's operate roughly 2,800 restaurants across 44 states.

Read more: Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s partnering with AI companies to automate drive-thrus

3.    Sweetgreen to debut unit with automated makeline

Sweetgreen, the fast-casual restaurant often referred to as a tech company rather than a restaurant company, is closer to closing its debt than the prior year, the brand announced during its first-quarter earnings call. In addition to closing its debt, the growing brand is opening its first Infinite Kitchen, a store design with an automated makeline, in Naperville, Ill. on May 10, according to CEO Jonathan Neman. “From these pilots, we hope to learn how we can create a more consistent customer experience, faster throughput, and make our team members’ jobs easier and more dynamic,” said Neman. “We believe this new concept, powered by automation, unlocks efficiencies that will enable us to grow more quickly and have higher profit margins.”

Read more: Sweetgreen inches closer to profitability

4.    Video: Elementary school tests biometric lunch line checkout

Linton Elementary School students use biometric scanner for school lunches as part of Poudre (Col.) School District pilot program testing the technology. Video at the link.

Read more: Linton Elementary School students receive lunch with touch of a finger

5.    Grocer adds AI capabilities to its shoppable livestreams

In the latest of a string of moves to build upon its retail media game, The Fresh Market grocery chain has launched the beta release of a generative AI live shopping option which allows online shoppers to use an in-video chat feature—even after its shoppable livestreams have ended. Even after a livestream has concluded, shoppers will be able to ask questions about featured products and services, and the AI engine (from video commerce solutions company Firework) will provide real-time responses based on user input, the content of the video, and other associated metadata.

Read more: The Fresh Market adds AI capabilities to its shoppable livestreams

Bonus: Corewell Health explores automation’s potential to boost dining service efficiencies

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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