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An Automated Takeover of Fast Food

Ready for burger bots? Fast food chain Wendy’s introduces widespread use of self-ordering kiosks.


I’m not much of a fast food junkie. But if there’s ever a time when I do need a fix, then I want the experience to live up to its promise: It needs to be fast.

In the "burger wars," Wendy’s is flexing a bit of muscle on this front. The chain has been preparing to launch widespread self-service kiosks, with some already in operation. (See a discussion and photo of one of the kiosks in the article at Management reports demand has been high, from both customers and its sizeable network of franchise owners. In fact, the burger giant’s CIO David Trimm is expecting more than 1,000 of the kiosks in the chain’s restaurants this year.

Wendy's is making the kiosks in house at its 90 Degrees Lab, because it is confident that what it makes will work. The company also is getting ready to release mobile ordering and mobile payment—more technology-based services that are experiencing growing demand.

There has been a lot of chatter about potential for automation to take over repetitive types of jobs, especially as the move to increase minimum wage gains steam. These fast-food ordering kiosks might just be the real deal.

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