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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Presto Automations Grapples with Human Intervention in Drive-Thru Automation

In a notable development, Presto Automations, a prominent player in drive-thru automation technology utilized by major fast-food chains, has conceded that over 70% of its AI-driven orders are supplemented by human assistance, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. The disclosure is a departure from the company’s initial claim, asserting that an impressive 95% of orders processed by its chatbots required no human intervention. Notably adopted by renowned establishments such as Del Taco, Hardee’s, and Carl’s Jr., Presto Automations had previously announced a strategic collaboration with OpenAI in March 2023, aiming to augment its drive-thru voice assistant functionalities through the integration of ChatGPT, promising a more natural and human-like interaction.

The SEC filing sheds light on the significant reliance Presto Automations places on human agents, referred to as “humans-in-the-loop,” to facilitate the AI in handling orders. “Currently, over 70% of orders taken by our Presto Voice solution require human agent intervention,” the filing states. “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% or better.” The company emphasizes that escalating automation in order processing will not only enhance operational efficiency but will also bolster its profitability.

Presto Automations acknowledged the escalating costs associated with off-site workers, particularly those based in locations such as the Philippines, contributing to the decision to increase automation and trim expenses. Bloomberg reported that the company implemented stringent cost-cutting measures in November, resulting in the dismissal of approximately 17% of its global full-time workforce and a reduction in monthly expenditures.

This revelation comes amid a broader trend within the U.S. restaurant industry, wherein AI is increasingly being leveraged to handle orders, ultimately aiming to streamline operations and reduce dependency on human labor. Esteemed chains such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Popeyes, and Wingstop have embraced AI-powered voice bots for drive-thru and phone-order processing. Wendy’s, another key player in the industry, is actively automating its drive-thru service, training its chatbot to decipher customer vernacular, optimize order suggestions, and enhance overall customer experience. While Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor emphasizes that the chatbot is not intended to replace human workers, Chief Information Officer Kevin Vasconi contends that the chatbot is on par, if not superior, to their best customer service representatives.

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Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay is an American broadcaster, media blogger, and podcast host. Currently, Ruben is the President of MultiMediaMouth.com and the executive producer and host of the popular podcasts You’re My Best Friend and ON AIR with Ruben Jay, exclusively on MultiMediaMouth.com. Follow Ruben on Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok @TheRubenJay.

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