6 AI-Based Voice Ordering Systems for Restaurants

6 AI-Based Voice Ordering Systems for Restaurants

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The takeout craze that took off during the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t let up. Across the country, restaurant chains are seeing an influx of orders placed through phones and mobile apps. Coupled with off-premise business and orders coming through third-party ordering systems like DoorDash and UberEats, restaurants today just can’t keep up.

The solution? A growing number of restaurant chains are deploying AI ordering systems to streamline phone orders and digitize their off-premise business. 

At Newk’s Eatery, a fast-casual restaurant chain that operates and franchises 100 stores in 16 states, the Kea AI solution is used to triage incoming calls, transcribe, upsell, and confirm orders placed by phone. Over the course of just two weeks, the company says Kea saved its employees hundreds of hours worth of manually handling phone calls and provided them with more time to focus on in-person customer service.

Kea isn’t alone. It’s just one of a number of companies using natural language processing and artificial intelligence to assist restaurants in managing orders placed by phone and online. 

Here are six AI-based voice ordering systems that restaurants are using right now.

6 AI-Based Voice Ordering Systems for Restaurants

1. Kea

Kea’s AI-based voice ordering systems act as a virtual cashier. It’s primarily used by restaurants to triage incoming calls, transcribe, upsell, and confirm orders. It can also process customer payments and send orders to a restaurant’s POS system automatically. To do this, Kea relies on natural language processing and machine learning, which gets smarter the more it’s used. Kea’s software identifies upsell opportunities based on previous order histories and frequently ordered items. The company also employs human agents who can intervene when the AI fails to understand a customer.

2. ConverseNow

ConverseNow is another voice AI solution that’s developed a positive reputation among restaurant chains. The company uses conversational intelligence and AI to power virtual ordering assistants that replicate natural human dialogue. ConverseNow’s ordering assistants are able to gauge customer sentiment and guide conversations. They can upsell items based on contextual data, detect nuances based on voice, and predict ordering behaviors based on previous order histories. In addition to maximizing sales potential, ConverseNow says its system enhances the guest experience through shorter drive-thru lines and fewer busy signals, and by giving restaurants a way to outsmart labor shortages.

3. VOICEplug AI 

VOICEplug AI accepts food orders using natural language voice conversations. The plug-and-play technology integrates with a restaurant’s telephone system, drive-thru, or online ordering system. Customers place orders just as they always have, but they interact with a voice bot rather than a human employee. VOICEplug’s bots can handle multiple phone orders simultaneously, without placing customers on hold, so restaurants can increase revenue and reduce labor costs. VOICEplug AI Drive-thru also allows customers to place drive-thru orders using voice commands, which means they’re leveraging existing drive-thru infrastructure and using voice recognition to place orders in person. 

4. Voix

Voix helps restaurant chains receive orders over conversational voice channels like Google Home, Alexa, and Siri, as well as by phone and text. The company’s AI platform interacts with customers on behalf of the restaurant, with the ability to take orders and send data to the restaurant’s POS or kitchen. Voix generates reliable time estimates, so customers know when to pick up their orders, and books tables for guests who call to make reservations. A big part of Voix’s value proposition has to do with how easy the system is to deploy. Restaurants send Voix a link to their menu, and the software will link the menu with conversational maps to create cloud AI access almost immediately.

5. SoundHound

SoundHound offers real-time, multi-modal, human-computer interaction for restaurants. It acts as a phone ordering system that answers every call, even during peak hours. In addition to processing phone orders and payments directly into Square’s POS system, SoundHound’s virtual assistants are also smart enough to answer basic customer questions about menu items. SoundHound says its system eliminates call hold times, increases staff efficiency, and leads to more consistent service everyday.

6. Presto Automation

Presto Voice is a drive-thru automation system from Presto Automation that uses speech recognition technology to take orders and converse with customers using custom voices. Rather than speaking to a monotonous virtual agent, Presto’s bots can be set up to sound like celebrities, mascots, or characters. Like other platforms on this list, Presto’s virtual agents have the ability to cross-sell and upsell customers, and promote items with short prep times when lines are long. The technology is also able to recognize and adapt to a customer’s tone. Presto Voice can be integrated with Presto Vision, another AI-powered product, to provide additional metrics on drive-thru performance.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.