Upcoming Technology in Fast Food Drive-Thrus

CNN has an article up, explaining the cutting-edge technological battle between the fast food chains: drive-thru automation. It will surprise none who have experienced the annoyance of trying to order a cheeseburger through a fuzzy, warbling speaker from an anonymous immigrant on the other end that the strategy these companies are banking on is absolutely clueless. What will companies like Burger King and Wendy’s be doing to guarantee a better drive-thru experience for you, the consumer? One: outsource your order to call centers, possibly in India. Two: use computer programs that guess your upcoming order.

Why don’t these companies just take the smart tact: take an incompetent employee or half-assed program out of the loop entirely? Allow drive-thru customers to just punch in their order on easy-to-read computer screens. While that still depends on an anonymous incompetent on the other end actually filling that order correctly, is anyone who has ever endured customer service from Dell recently really relishing the idea of someone identifying himself as “Joe America” fielding his order for a cheeseburger from ten thousand miles away?