Humans Take AI Jobs as McDonald's Ends AI Drive-Thru Trial a Boon for Job Seekers

Posted on: June 30, 2024

Blog Image

In surprising events, McDonald's ends AI drive-thru trials across more than 100 locations. This decision comes after numerous customer complaints about inaccurate orders, like unanticipated bacon on ice cream, and invalid charges like a $222 bill for McNuggets. As McDonald's reverts to mortal-operated drive-thrus, this shift could create significant employment opportunities for job seekers, especially in the temporary staffing sector.

The AI Trial What Went Wrong?

McDonald's began its AI journey in 2019 by acquiring the startup Apprente, which specializes in AI-based voice solutions for client service. The fast-food giant aimed to enhance drive-thru effectiveness and speed by planting this technology. By 2021, McDonald's had partnered with IBM to scale the AI-powered automated order-taking ( AOT) system. However, despite these advancements, the pilot program faced several issues

  • Errant Orders: Customers reported crazy mistakes, similar to receiving nine sweet teas rather than a single hash brown and Coke, or an ice cream cone inexplicably topped with bacon.
  • Customer Frustration: The AI system's errors led to significant frustration among customers, as evidenced by numerous complaints and viral TikTok videos showcasing the technology's failures.

Eventually, McDonald's decided to halt the AI drive-thru trial by July 26, 2024, but hinted at revisiting voice-ordering solutions in the future.

A Silver Lining for Job Seekers

While McDonald's AI initiative faced setbacks, the discontinuation of the program presents a silver lining for job seekers. The move back to human-operated drive-thrus means an increase in demand for staff, creating a wealth of employment openings. This is how this development benefits job seekers:

  1. Immediate Job Openings: With over 100 locations transitioning away from AI, McDonald's will need to fill numerous positions to handle the increased workload. This is a golden opportunity for those seeking temporary or endless employment in the fast-food industry.
  2. Enhanced Customer Experience: Mortal employees can provide a level of service and particular interaction that AI presently can not. Job seekers who thrive in customer service roles will find ample openings to shine, enhancing the overall dining experience for patrons.
  3. Skill Development: Working in a fast-paced environment like McDonald's drive-thru can help workers develop precious skills, similar to multitasking, communication, and problem-solving. These skills are transferable and can enhance career prospects in various industries.
  4. Flexible Work Options: The surge in demand for drive-thru operators offers flexible job openings. Workers can choose shifts that fit their schedules, making it ideal for students, part-time workers, and those looking for supplementary income.

Broader Implications for the Job Market

McDonald's decision reflects a broader trend where businesses are re-evaluating the balance between automation and human labor. While AI and automation have their advantages, the significance of human workers, especially in places requiring nuanced customer interaction, remains undeniable. This shift could signal a more conservative approach to automation across various sectors, ensuring that technology complements rather than replaces human jobs.


As McDonald's phases out its AI-powered drive-thrus, the resulting increase in human-operated jobs offers a significant employment boost. Job seekers can benefit from the surge in openings. This development underscores the continuing value of human labor in providing quality customer service and the potential for technology and mortal workers to attend to the evolving job market.


When will McDonald's stop using AI in its drive-thru?

McDonald's announced that the AI technology will be shut off in all participating restaurants by July 26, 2024.

Will McDonald's revisit AI technology in the future?

Yes, McDonald's indicated that they will continue to explore voice-ordering solutions and may reintroduce AI technology in their drive-thrus after further evaluation.

How does this decision produce job openings?

As McDonald's transitions down from an AI-powered drive-thru, they will need more human workers to take orders and manage drive-thru operations. This shift will produce multitudinous job openings, particularly in temporary and part-time positions.

Who can benefit from these new job openings?

Job seekers looking for flexible, temporary, or part-time work can benefit greatly.

How can job seekers apply for these positions?

Job seekers can apply directly through the McDonald's career website or use staffing platforms that connect temporary workers with businesses looking for staffing solutions.

Don't forget to follow us on!