70% Of AI Drive-Thru Errors Require Human Intervention
Presto Automation, an AI company that serves fast food brands like Carls Jr., Hardees, Del Taco and Checkers, openly acknowledged that human involvement is necessary for most of their orders. They revealed that over 70% of purchases including drive thru orders are assisted by “off site agents” to ensure operations and to prevent errors.
In an effort to tackle challenges such as labor shortages and turnaround times, Presto Automation has developed a chatbot specifically designed for drive thru orders. The primary objective of this chatbot is not to streamline the ordering process but to encourage upselling.
While initially claiming on their website that “Presto Voice relies on our AI engine to handle over 95% of orders without intervention” they made adjustments to this statement in November.
The updated statement now emphasizes how their superior AI engine works alongside human supervision and accounts for up to 95% of drive thru orders without requiring any intervention from restaurant staff. These changes were prompted by an investigation conducted by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) into Prestos disclosures about their AI technology.
Human involvement typically refers to workers from countries like the Philippines who contribute to the training of the system. According to representatives, the overall objective is to minimize the amount of time that would have been spent interacting with humans.
An ‘AI’ fast food drive-thru is mostly just human workers in the Philippines https://t.co/AjP31i3pZq
— The Verge (@verge) December 8, 2023
According to CEO Xavier Casanova, Presto is currently being used at over 400 sites in the United States. Additionally they anticipate expanding to 1,200 sites by 2024 according to their website. However, Prestos market value has plummeted. It is now worth $59 million as reported by Stock Analysis, with the drop attributing to a decline of over 60% in the company’s shares in the past year.
The challenges faced by Presto reflect a growing trend in the fast food industry towards full automation. Robots are now being employed in lieu of face to face customer service and food preparation — offering an alternative solution to costly labor.
For example popular chains like Chipotle and Starbucks have already started implementing robots for daily tasks as part of their shift towards automation. Overall Presto Automation’s recognition of the evolution of AI ordering systems accentuates the current challenges it presents to both the fast food industry and the AI sector.