If ChatGPT greeted you at the drive-thru, it might provide a unique and personalized experience but it might not be the most efficient system for taking your order. While ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that has the ability to analyze vast amounts of data, it is not specialized to handle a job in a fast-paced environment like a drive-thru. However, there are specialized AI voice assistants that are highly trained for taking orders at the drive-thru. This buyer’s guide outlines 6 important factors you should consider when selecting an AI voice automation partner for your drive-thru operations.

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is king. From fast food to banking, customers want quick and efficient service, and businesses are increasingly turning to AI voice technology to provide it. One industry that has seen growing demand for AI voice automation is quick-service restaurants (QSRs). With the help of digital menus, double lanes, and artificial intelligence (AI), drive-thru experiences are becoming faster, smoother, and more personalized than ever before. In this era of on-the-go living, QSRs are at the forefront of technological innovation. Drive-thru operators are discovering that investing in AI voice ordering automation solutions could be key to meeting guest expectations, retaining staff, driving revenue growth and staying competitive.

With AI voice automation deployed in the drive-thru, this solution allows drive-thru guests to place orders without human intervention 95% of the time. This allows restaurant staff to be redeployed to ensure guest orders are made to order and packed out accurately. Ensuring order accuracy is crucial for customer satisfaction in the fast-food industry, particularly in drive-thru orders.

Various studies have revealed that order errors can lead to customer dissatisfaction, which results in brand reputation damage and lost revenue. For instance, QSR’s 22nd Annual Drive-Thru Study found that 15% of respondents had experienced inaccurate orders. Based on the study, accurate orders are completed 49 seconds faster than inaccurate orders. Considering an average meal cost of $9.02 and the time difference of 49 seconds between accurate and inaccurate orders, the potential revenue losses due to inaccurate orders can quickly accumulate. In fact, this can lead to a potential revenue loss of $53,981 per year per drive-thru location.

In this guide for drive-thru operators, we will explore the importance of selecting the right AI voice automation partner for your drive-thru and provide recommendations for choosing a reliable and effective solution that can help you take your drive-thru business to the next level.

A reliable partner can help you navigate the complex process of integrating AI voice technology into your drive-thru operations. This process can be complex, and an experienced partner can help guide you through it, ensuring that the implementation goes smoothly and efficiently. On the other hand, an experienced partner can lead to costly mistakes and dissatisfied drive-thru guests. Delays in deployment and issues with the tech stack can arise if the AI voice technology being used is unreliable or not designed to scale quickly. These issues can be particularly costly and can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the technology in your drive-thru operations. By selecting the right AI voice automation partner for your drive-thru operations, you can ensure a seamless and positive experience for all involved.

AI voice automation benefits:

  • Increased speed of service: With AI voice automation in place, guests are never asked to wait, the AI voice assistant immediately takes guests orders with a consistent and friendly demeanor. Then the order is sent seamlessly to the POS system, increasing throughput, reducing wait times for guests and increasing the number of orders that can be processed in a given time period.
  • Improved order accuracy: By automating the ordering process, AI voice automation can reduce the likelihood of human errors caused by miscommunication between guests and staff. In addition, the staff can be redeployed to ensure orders are made fresh and packed out accurately.
  • Personalized menu recommendations: AI voice automation technology can analyze data from previous orders to make personalized recommendations to guests, resulting in better guest experience and higher average check sizes.
  • Cost savings: By reducing labor costs and improving efficiency, AI voice automation can help drive-thru restaurants improve profitability.
  • Enhanced guest experience: AI voice automation can improve the overall guest experience by providing a more convenient and personalized ordering process.

How to Choose the Right AI Voice Automation Partner?

Here are the six key components when selecting the right AI voice ordering technology partner to ensure the best return on investment (ROI) for you to automate and optimize your drive-thru franchise operations:

In today’s labor-scarce world, to survive and thrive, restaurants must adopt technology—fast.

1. Reduce wait time at the drive-thru order terminal

When diners pull-up to the drive-thru order terminal, they are often asked to wait, because the staff is multi-tasking, either finishing up the previous car’s order and entering it in the POS system, pouring beverages or collecting payment from a guest. With voice automation, drive-thru guests are greeted by the A.I. voice system and never told to wait, avoiding typical delays that frustrate guests. Orders are immediately sent to the point of sales system (POS), which immediately eliminates bottlenecks and keeps the drive-thru flowing smoother while making guests happier.

2. Increase new revenue opportunities

Suggestive upselling means recommending menu items or limited-time offers (LTOs) for drive-thru guests and helping guests make decisions that are good for them. With this unprecedented labor shortage, it’s inevitable that the short-staffed drive-thru team see upselling as the least of their priorities, as they’re trying to move as many guests through the drive-thru lane as quickly as possible, take their orders, enter them into the POS system, pack their orders, pour their drinks and collect payment.

3. Improve guest experience

The drive-thru order terminal is the first point of contact with guests and you want that to be the best experience, or else it goes downhill pretty quickly. With voice automation, the A.I. voice assistant is always pleasant no matter what time you pull up to the drive-thru and she always greets you before taking your order. To confirm the order, she reads back the order to ensure order accuracy. With the A.I. voice assistant at the drive-thru taking orders, it helps free up staff from multitasking so that they can focus on preparing the meals, ensuring orders are accurately packed and providing the best possible guest experience.

Automation technology doesn’t have to be impersonal, with custom voices, drive-thru ordering is transformed from a purely transactional experience to an exciting interaction that allows guests to converse with celebrities, mascots, characters or other custom voices.

Don’t make your guests wait

A.I. voice technology is poised to be widely adopted by the restaurant industry in 2023. The lingering labor shortage, rising costs and wages give operators more reasons to automate—not to eliminate jobs, but to strike a balance between a consistent experience for guests and a safe, comfortable and fair-wage atmosphere for workers.

With the drive-thru channel being the major source of revenue for the majority of QSRs, while it may seem like a good idea to buy a cheaper piece of equipment or solution, it’s important to do your homework beforehand to see if this will be the best investment for your restaurant. When operators cut corners on technology, you usually end up paying more long-term with replacements and costly upgrade services.

Choose a voice automation partner that has been proven at scale

Designed to help restaurants maximize labor efficiency and generate new revenue, Presto’s next-generation A.I. voice assistant helps optimize the drive-thru, retain staff, increase upsells and provide a superior guest experience. Presto Voice™ offers the industry’s most widely adopted A.I.-powered drive-thru voice assistant with over 75% market share.

As Checkers and Rally’s’ (800-unit burger chain) exclusive partner of automated voice ordering, Presto deployed and integrated its A.I. voice assistant into Checkers’ existing drive-thru infrastructure to hundreds of its corporate-owned drive-thru restaurants in 2022. At ICR’s 25th Anniversary Conference in Orlando, Florida, it was announced that Del Taco, the nation’s second largest Mexican quick service restaurant with approximately 600 locations nationwide, is the second major brand to sign up for Presto Voice.

Presto’s voice automation solution has the richest feature set, is easy to install at scale with existing point of sales (POS) and kitchen display systems (KDS), has 24/7 availability and delivers proven ROI. It allows fast-food 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.

Don’t wait for the rest of the industry to pass you by. Contact Presto to discover how you can generate real results today.

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.