Wendy’s to pilot underground robots for faster order pickup

Wendy's parking lot
Wendy's will test an underground robotic pickup fulfillment system.

The Wendy’s Company is testing an automated system that may revolutionize customer pickup of online orders.

The quick-serve restaurant chain will pilot an underground autonomous robot system from hyperlogistics company Pipedream that will deliver digital food orders from the restaurant kitchen to designated parking spots in seconds. The technology uses autonomous robots to transport orders underground and deliver at a car-side instant pickup portal.  Wendy's said it will be the first quick service restaurant to pilot the cutting-edge technology, 

Wendy's is planning to integrate Pipedream's underground delivery system into an existing restaurant later this year, with the goals of streamlining order fulfillment, freeing store associates to perform other tasks, and enabling fast order pickup without customers having to leave their cars.

“We know that serving orders quickly and accurately leads to increased customer satisfaction," said Deepak Ajmani, U.S. COO, The Wendy's Company. "Pipedream's Instant Pickup system has the potential to unlock greater mobile order speed of service and accuracy, enabling us to consistently deliver hot and fresh Wendy's products to our fans."

"At Wendy's, we are consistently innovating to meet our customers however they choose to engage with us," said Matt Spessard, senior VP and global CTO, The Wendy's Company. "As mobile ordering preferences increase, we're thrilled to be the first quick service restaurant to partner with Pipedream, leveraging their unique delivery technology and system with the goal of reinventing digital pick-ups to bring more Wendy's to more people as quickly and efficiently as possible." 

"We're proud to partner with an iconic, innovative brand like Wendy's to bring the future of mobile order pick-up to the quick service industry," said Garrett McCurrach, CEO, Pipedream. "By solving order handoff, the final leg of the digital experience, our Instant Pickup technology allows Wendy's restaurant team members to focus on what matters: serving delicious, high-quality food and connecting with customers in this digital-first world."

Wendy’s to pilot AI-based drive-thru

In another effort to streamline store operations with AI, Wendy’s is proceeding with plans to leverage AI and hybrid cloud tools at the drive-thru window. The retailer is expanding an existing partnership with Google to pilot a solution, called “Wendy’s FreshAI,” which based on Google Cloud's generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology.

In October 2021, Wendy’s first announced plans to utilize Google Cloud data analytics, AI, machine learning (ML), and hybrid cloud technology, such as speech-to-text and Google search and maps, to create new ways customers can order food via touchpoints, including drive-thru and mobile device.

Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy's and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across approximately 7,000 restaurants worldwide.

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