AI Gunning For Fast Food Jobs Next? KFC, Taco Bell Operator Yum Brands Planning ChatGPT-Like Bots To Boost Operations

Yum Brands YUM, the parent company of fast food chains like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Habit Burger Grill, is set to revolutionize its operations by adopting an “AI-first mentality.”

What Happened: As detailed in an Ars Technica article, Yum’s commitment to AI will span across all facets of the consumer experience. Joe Park, the company’s chief digital and technology officer, envisions an AI-driven quick-service restaurant operation.

Yum Brands has significantly ramped up its technology and automation investments, with approximately 45% of its sales now stemming from online and app-based ordering and delivery services. The company plans to use AI to profile customers, present personalized offers, boost sales, and attract new patrons.

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AI is slated to permeate every aspect of Yum’s restaurants—from AI-assisted franchisees to AI-powered kitchen management and delivery platforms. To streamline operations, Yum is experimenting with a ChatGPT-like chatbot for restaurant managers and exploring customer-oriented applications like voice AI for drive-through orders and image recognition to monitor waiting times.

Despite fears over potential job displacement due to AI and automation adoption, Yum Brands emphasizes the crucial role of its employees in the company’s operations. The company also investigates digitally linked and managed kitchen appliances to optimize operations further.

Why It Matters: This move by Yum Brands comes amid a broader debate about the actual potential and hype surrounding AI. Recently, prominent figures in the industry, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Sam Altman, were humorously criticized by Jon Stewart for their lofty promises about AI’s potential. Meanwhile, the co-founder of Google DeepMind, Sir Demis Hassabis, expressed concerns that the surge in AI funding leads to overstated hype that overshadows the actual scientific progress in the sector. Yum Brands’ AI-first approach will put these theories to the test, demonstrating whether AI can truly redefine the fast food experience.

Price Action: YUM shares traded lower by 1.21% at $139.01 at market close on Wednesday.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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