McDonald's is ending its drive-thru AI test

The Chicago-based fast-food giant is ending its partnership with IBM on automated order-taking without an expansion. But McDonald’s still believes AI drive-thrus are in its future.


Starbucks' value offer is a bad idea

The Bottom Line: It’s not entirely clear that price is the reason Starbucks is losing traffic. If it isn’t, the company’s new value offer could backfire.

There's been a lot of talk lately about high QSR pricing, and the leaders of Portillo's, Sweetgreen and Cava are pretty happy with that. It makes the fast-casual space look good.

The coffee shop chain in July plans to open its app to everybody, not just Starbucks Rewards members. But it is already promoting its value there as it works to rebuild sales from occasional customers.

Several restaurant chains, notably Starbucks, are navigating weak spending and increasing competition in the fast-growing market. But they remain bullish on its future.

The Mexican fast-food chain plans to bring Presto Voice technology to more restaurants after it improved speed and ticket size at a test location.

Rather than try to cater to everybody, quick-service restaurant chains are increasingly specializing based on menu and service style. The result is a crop of innovative chains serving drive-thru salads or just chicken fingers.

Pay for CEOs at publicly traded restaurants took off last year, but remains lower than average among public companies, even as tenure for the position remains volatile.

The pizza giant believes it has good products. It just needs to do a better job of telling customers about it. The company is also promising a lot more menu innovation.

The Bottom Line: The fast-food giant took the extraordinary step of publicizing average prices this week. It was speaking to its less-frequent customers, who are a lot less likely to say the chain is a good value.

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