Robots Could Take Over McDonald's Drive-Thru Operations

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- McDonald's drive-thru windows may soon be run by artificial intelligence.

For decades, people have greeted customers at the fast-food giant's drive-thru lanes, to take their orders and ask helpfully if they'd like fries with that.

The Chicago-based company appears to moving toward robots, with its AI acquisitions, including Apprente. McDonald's may try to cut costs by moving workers away from the drive-thru operation.

This could "potentially free up labor to do other things and change the overall experience," says R.J. Hottovy, a Morningstar anaylist. 

He said 70 percent of McDonald's sales comes through the drive-thru arm of restaurants. AI systems may know how to persuade drivers to order more food items, Hottovy said.