The Presto Pulse of the Industry study indicates a continuing shift away from dine-in, overall frustration with drive-thru quality of service, and a positive attitude towards technology.
SAN CARLOS, Calif. (July 19, 2022) – Over the past two years, dine-in closures forced customers to switch to takeout, delivery, and drive-thru ordering. Despite widespread reopening, this trend away from dine-in is expected to grow further with only 25% of those surveyed more likely to use dine-in compared to last year. On the other hand, nearly half of the survey respondents (46%) are more likely to order takeout and only 22% are less likely to place drive-thru orders compared to a year ago.
These are among the findings of the Presto Pulse of the Industry study (“Presto Pulse”), a survey designed to understand customer trends and perceptions related to restaurant usage, quality of service, and receptiveness to automation technology.
Presto, a leader in the restaurant hospitality technology industry, noted that results of the survey indicate a continuing shift away from dine-in, overall consumer frustration with drive-thru quality of service, and a strong positive attitude towards technology. As drive-thru wait times increase and service seems to worsen, 70% of the respondents want technologies such as A.I. voice assistants, personalized menus, and smartphone apps to help alleviate the pain.
When asked about the quality of their drive-thru experience, the vast majority of respondents (77%) felt the situation is the same or worse than last year. Long wait time was identified as the biggest issue with 27% of respondents saying it has gotten significantly worse over the past year. Friendliness of service came in second worst with 18% saying it has become worse. So while demand is shifting towards the drive-thru, service levels are becoming worse, leading to greater customer dissatisfaction.
“In many drive-thrus it’s difficult to hear the person taking your order,” said one respondent. “This leads to frustration and inaccurate orders.”
“Use technology to make the order process faster,” said another respondent.
So how can this situation be mitigated? 78% of those surveyed thought that automation technology is critical for smooth operations of a fast food restaurant. Most respondents felt that use of technology at a restaurant makes the experience more efficient. They also felt that a technology-augmented experience is more enjoyable, could lead to lower menu prices, and is inevitable. However, a third of the respondents felt that technology could take away from some of the personalized service and may make the overall experience less personal.
“We need a drive-thru with shorter wait times,” according to one respondent. “Automated order taking”, “designated lane for advanced online orders”, and “faster payment methods” were some other suggestions.
Regarding specific drive-thru technologies, customers were the most comfortable with use of an artificial intelligence (A.I.) voice assistant for faster ordering, personalized menus, customized suggestions, and order / payment using a smartphone. Over 70% of respondents indicated that they would be receptive to using one or more of these technologies in the drive-thru if they result in shorter wait times and more efficient service.
Going forward, the company plans to conduct Presto Pulse every 6 months to gauge customer sentiment and identify trends across the industry. The current survey had 243 respondents representing a wide cross section of U.S. restaurant customers accounting for different socio-demographic, economic, and lifecycle variables.
On November 10, 2021, Presto announced the execution of a definitive merger agreement with Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: VTAQ), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (“Ventoux”), that will result in Presto becoming a publicly listed company. Upon closing, the combined company (the “Company”) will be renamed Presto Technologies, Inc. and expects to trade on Nasdaq.
Presto overlays next-gen digital solutions onto the physical world. Our enterprise-grade touch, vision, and voice technologies help restaurant hospitality businesses thrive while delighting guests. With over 250,000 systems shipped, we are a market leader in enterprise-grade labor productivity solutions for restaurants. Founded at M.I.T. in 2008, Presto is headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif. with customers including many of the top 20 restaurant chains such as Applebee’s, BJ’s, Checkers, Chili’s, Famous Dave’s, Outback Steakhouse, and Red Lobster.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the proposed business combination involving Ventoux and Presto, Ventoux intends to file a registration statement, which will include a preliminary proxy statement/prospectus, with the SEC. The proxy statement/prospectus will be sent to stockholders of Ventoux. This press release is not a substitute for the proxy statement/prospectus. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN FILED OR WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC, AS WELL AS ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS TO THESE DOCUMENTS, CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PRESTO, VENTOUX, THE PROPOSED BUSINESS COMBINATION AND RELATED MATTERS. The documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC relating to the proposed business combination (when they are available) can be obtained free of charge from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These documents (when they are available) can also be obtained free of charge from Ventoux upon written request at Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp., 1 East Putnam Avenue, Floor 4, Greenwich, CT 06830.
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