Popeyes has announced it will use AI technology to take drive-thru orders across its UK estate, becoming the first QSR chain in the UK to do so.

Customers will use ‘AL’, a voice-activated AI assistant, to place their orders at the drive-thru window.

The assistant is tasked with greeting the guests and take the order “in a natural, conversational way”, supported by a digital display where customers can have a visual confirmation their order has been understood properly.

‘AL’ is also equipped to answer questions on allergens, available promotions, and item ingredients.

A Popeyes spokesperson said the new function would “free up the team” so they wouldn’t need to stand at the window, allowing them to “focus on other parts of the job such as customer service”.

The rollout comes after a successful trial at its Northampton store, with trial figures including 97% order accuracy, zero customer complaints and “higher scoring in mystery diners’ records”.

“We believe this technology has the power to revolutionise the drive-thru experience for the better, and we’re particularly proud to be the first quick-service restaurant in the UK to offer a Voice AI solution in this way” said David Carey, chief technology officer at Popeyes.

“The team have embraced the technology and are excited by the new freedom of not needing to stand at the order window. We’re also currently looking at other ways AI can help the Popeyes team in the future, such as order forecasting.”

The AI solution will be rolled out in Cardiff and Rotherham over the coming weeks, and is expected to reach the entire UK estate by July this year.