For quick-service restaurants (QSRs) to be successful with upselling, increasing their average check size, and making sure the customer has a seamless experience no matter how they order, restaurants need to look at order-taking as more of a science than an art.

For most restaurant operators, it’s safe to assume that you never want to stop your customers from placing their orders. It’s frustrating for both the customer and restaurant when a customer picks to eat at your restaurant, but the customer abandons their order due to bottlenecks in the restaurant’s operations. While every restaurant wants to generate as many sales as possible, these bottlenecks could be why customers give up on placing their orders and go somewhere else to eat:

  • Phone lines are busy
  • Drive-thru lane is slow and congested
  • Mobile app menu is too complicated to navigate

How can restaurants optimize their order-taking operations?

There’s an immediate solution for restaurants to automate and optimize their order-taking process to maximize sales, and it’s hidden in plain sight. Restaurants are currently underutilizing automated voice technology in their operations, and it could be a game changer, especially in the current climate of labor shortage and high inflation rate. There’s no better time for restaurants to adopt an A.I. voice assistant across their operations for phone orders, mobile app orders, and drive-thru orders.

Automating the order-taking process not only relieves bottlenecks for the restaurant and increases revenue, it also provides a way to retain their staff and better utilize their time rather than having them rekey orders that are prone to human error either on the phone, online, or in the drive-thru. Errors in the customer’s order will lead to complaints, frustration, loss of revenue, and repeat business.

Mobile App Orders

It’s no secret that consumers have spent the last decade living on their mobile devices. Today practically every QSR chain has a mobile app; not only do these apps help the restaurants build their loyalty and rewards programs, promote new menu items, push gamification elements such as achievements, but they also help encourage customers to order more frequently. If your menu on your website or mobile app is complex and difficult to use, this can be overwhelming and a turn-off for customers.

By integrating an A.I. voice assistant into the mobile app, it automates the order process by guiding the customer through their order as if they were talking to a human. The customer doesn’t need to learn how to navigate the digital menu, especially if there are complicated menu options. This way, users don’t find themselves in a position where they feel confused when browsing through the menu and trying to place their order. They just say what they want and the A.I. voice assistant does the rest.

According to a recent report by Apptopia, “the top 36 quick-service apps hit their highest quarterly number of downloads ever in Q2 2022 with 46.9 million.” As fast food brands continue to push their loyalty programs and encourage customers to order through their mobile apps through deals, it’s time for brands to add voice technology to keep up with demand and provide a hands-free and streamlined experience that customers expect.

Phone Orders

Many restaurants still handle orders and reservations via the phone, which is a sales channel that restaurants cannot ignore. A busy phone line will immediately turn a customer to eat somewhere else.

Automating phone orders with an A.I. voice assistant allows restaurants to optimize the order-taking process no matter how many customers call at the same time. No busy phone lines. No customers hanging up for being put on hold. No staff having to be stationed at the phone. No human errors rekeying orders into the POS system. An A.I. voice assistant answers all calls promptly, maintains a pleasant voice, always remembers to upsell, automatically sends orders to the POS system, and doesn’t leave after only one month on the job.

A.I. voice assistants automate phone orders, manage reservations, and answer most customer questions. It’s a refreshing experience for guests to not have to wait on the phone and can seamlessly place an order accurately. This is a revenue stream that restaurants cannot afford to miss with a busy phone line.

Drive-Thru Orders

For decades, wait times, number of drop-outs and order accuracy in the drive-thru have been key performance indicators for QSR chains, but the pandemic has amplified their significance. And it’s not your imagination that the drive-thru has become slower as more diners choose to use the drive-thru lane, as reported in SeeLevel HX’s annual 2021 study, creating the perfect storm for QSR operators. There’s no slowing down for drive-thrus, and in order to capitalize on this momentum, some chains are designing new restaurant formats that highlight the drive-thru lane and downgrade to smaller dining rooms to keep up with the increasing demand, but there’s a solution for operators to deploy immediately with their existing drive-thru concept.

Exciting new developments in A.I.-powered voice technology allow drive-thru guests to place orders without staff assistance, even in noisy environments. Voice ordering can expedite the ordering process at drive-thrus, and it can also help restaurants automatically upsell items and increase check sizes.

Turning to A.I. voice technology is an immediate solution. It is likely to be the new norm over the next few years for QSRs and fast-casual restaurants to mitigate the labor shortage and automate the drive-thru process. The friendly, human-like assistant never lets guests wait, takes their order accurately, never forgets to upsell or introduce a new menu item, and automatically sends the order to the POS system without any delay. Adding an A.I. voice assistant to take drive-thru orders also allows restaurants to retain their staff better because they can have them focus on other tasks that require greater human oversight.

Don’t make your customers wait

A.I. voice technology is poised to disrupt the restaurant industry in the next few years, spurred by the ongoing labor shortage, rising costs of commodities, rent, gas, and wages. It is easy to deploy, allows restaurants to do more with less, doesn’t require any changes to the operator’s existing concept, improves customer retention, drives revenue growth, and helps them build a significantly more productive workforce.

A key factor for success is selecting the right technology partner who can ensure the A.I. voice assistant solution is seamlessly integrated into the restaurant’s existing IT infrastructure. Without any complex changes, the voice automation should integrate in harmony with the existing phone system, mobile app and drive-thru concept and seamlessly transmit orders into the POS system, even legacy systems. The return on investment (ROI) is immediate.

With an automated order-taking process in place using an A.I. voice assistant, restaurants can get ahead of industry challenges, eliminate human error and free up staff’s time, so they can focus on improving the customer experience. With orders seamlessly sent to a restaurant’s POS and tickets printed in the kitchen in a consistent format, all operations will run much smoother and help a restaurant’s bottom line.

Presto provides restaurant operators enterprise-grade next-gen technology with powerful A.I. algorithms that meet security standards and scale with restaurants. Voice A.I. technology benefits restaurants by improving order accuracy, labor productivity, operating costs, and service speed.

Presto Voice is a technology that integrates with our vision and touch technologies, providing restaurants with powerful solutions and rich data analytics. Please contact us here, and we will happily explain how to get started with your pilot program.

About Presto

Presto overlays next-gen digital solutions onto the physical world. Our enterprise-grade touch, vision, and voice technologies help hospitality businesses thrive while delighting guests. With over 100 million guests using Presto each month and 300,000 systems shipped, we are one of the largest technology providers in the industry.

Founded at M.I.T. in 2008, Presto is headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif. with customers including top 20 hospitality chains such as Applebee’s, Aramark, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s, and Outback Steakhouse.