A Carl’s Jr. customer has shared their experience placing their order with an A.I. system in the drive-thru on TikTok, sparking discussion about the increasing use of automation in customer service roles typically held by humans.
There were a number of industries that experienced massive staffing shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of which have still persisted well after government-mandated stay-at-home and social distancing orders were lifted.
While many retail chains have reported that they were “over-staffed” after the pandemic, food industry workers are still reeling from a lack of employees in many parts of the country, leaving them over-worked and stressed from the additional duties they must bear.
These labor shortages caused businesses to offer higher hourly rates to employees in an attempt to get folks to come to work, but now it seems that businesses are turning towards A.I. solutions in order to help process orders for customers.
As the TikToker, Ochoa (@xx1keixx), revealed in their now-viral clip, A.I. assistance is becoming a more common technique for fast food chains like Carl’s Jr.
@xx1kei1xx This was neat. #carlsjr #tori ♬ original sound – OCHOA
The assistant even has their own name, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Carl’s Jr.’s A.I. system is called Tori, according to the sign on the drive-thru window which reads, “Hi, I’m Tori a new drive-thru experience.”
The clip begins with the TikToker pulling up to the drive-thru speaker. Then Tori says, “Welcome to Carl’s Jr. My name is Tori. What can I get started for you?”
Ochoa says, “Can I get a number 2?”
A few seconds go by before Tori asks, “Would you like that with or without cheese?”
“With cheese,” the TikToker says.
“Would you like to make that a medium or large combo?”
“Large,” he responds.
“And for your drink?” Tori asks.
“A Dr. Pepper with no ice,” the TikToker replies.
“Will that complete your order?” Tori says.
Ochoa confirms before Tori repeats the order back to him. “We have a super star cheeseburger large meal with french fries and a Dr. Pepper no ice,” she says. “Does that sound right?”
After confirming the order once more, Ochoa is told to move forward.
“Thank you! Your total is twelve dollars and forty-eight cents we’re happy to help you at the window,” Tori says as Ochoa begins to drive off.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Ochoa via TikTok comment and Carl’s Jr. via email for further information.
Some viewers who saw the piece thought that the voice assistant was a little too slow in processing the order, which took a total of 55 seconds to process Ochoa’s single order.
“My god Tori is [so] SLOW,” one user wrote.
Another agreed that while the assistant didn’t seem to process the order the speediest, they appreciated the fact that the A.I. didn’t have an “attitude.”
“Finally! A drive thru where you can actually understand what they are saying and no attitude for doing their job,” one commenter shared.
Someone else penned, “She took forever but didn’t give attitude.”
Others gave favorable opinions of the A.I. drive-thru assistant, writing, “At least we can understand what she is saying.”
Some said that they were looking forward to seeing how Tori handles more complex situations. As one noted, “I can’t wait to see how Karens handle AI customer service.” Another wrote, “I wonder how these things handle complicated orders.”
Many also expressed concern that this A.I. assistant would replace jobs that would otherwise go to actual people.
“They asked for 20$ an hour and Carl’s Jr said bet,” one TikTok user quipped.
Another said, “This is what happens when they try to mandate $15/hour.”