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After months of testing AI drive-thru in sole location, Wendy’s is bringing more to central Ohio

After months of testing AI drive-thru in sole location, Wendy’s is bringing more to central Ohio

Sav McKee

If you’re stopping by the Wendy’s at 5771 Maxtown Road any time soon, you might be surprised to find that the person who usually takes your order is now just an Artificial Intelligence chatbot.

This Westerville location was one of the first locations to test out the AI drive-thrus, according to Wendy’s. This new AI drive-thru concept uses Google software, called Wendy’s FreshAi, and carries out conversations with customers. Think ChatGPT but for ordering food. It can understand made-to-order requests and is able to answer frequently asked questions. Wendy’s hoped that less miscommunication and mistakes would be a result, and it seemed to have worked.

“After months of testing Wendy’s FreshAI in our hometown of Columbus, OH, we’ve learned a lot while reimagining the drive-thru experience…Our accuracy during the pilot, measured as the percentage of orders successfully handled by Wendy’s FreshAI without restaurant team member intervention, averaged 86% and we would expect the average to only to increase,” said Wendy’s press release.


According to Wendy’s, this AI drive-thru has been extremely successful, efficient, and accurate. “Considering there are more than 200 billion ways to order a Dave’s Double®, leveraging generative AI is a crucial piece of innovating the Wendy’s drive-thru experience for customers,” said Wendy’s.

Wendy’s is technically still piloting this and using Columbus as their guinea pig, but due to the ongoing success of their Westerville AI drive-thru, Wendy’s said that many more locations in central Ohio will transition to AI drive-thrus, too, slated to come at the end of 2023 and early 2024.

What do you think? Would you rather order from an Artificial Intelligence with an 86% accuracy rate (for now,) or a regular ol’ human? Maybe that’s the new age-old question.

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