- Presto Automation has expanded its partnership with Del Taco to offer its artificial intelligence Presto Voice at several drive-thru restaurants nationwide, the companies wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive.
- Del Taco tested Presto Voice last year and found over 95% of orders placed through the system didn’t need staff intervention and were seamlessly sent to the point-of-sales and kitchen display systems.
- Last year, Presto Voice was deployed at corporate-owned Checkers & Rally’s locations.
After three months of initial testing and demands from franchisees, Del Taco decided to roll out Presto’s drive-thru AI tech within its system, Presto founder and CEO Rajat Suri said Tuesday during the ICR Conference in Orlando, Florida. Presto’s deal with Del Taco is potentially worth about $10 million in annual recurring revenue, Suri said.
The initial pilot occurred in California, near Del Taco’s headquarters, Suri said. He doesn’t know the exact timeline of the Del Taco rollout, but said “it will happen fast,” as West Coast states are particularly impacted by labor struggles, Suri said.
Del Taco was surprised by how much staff like Presto’s solution, and said it reduced stress on workers. Employees missed it when the system was turned off, Suri said.
Del Taco’s parent company, Jack in the Box, has been testing other up-and-coming technologies as well. Last year, it partnered with Miso Robotics to test an automated fryer and an automated beverage maker inside Jack in the Box.
“Opportunities like this have brought to life our need to invest in upgraded and updated point-of-sale and store-level technology platform system-wide to ensure initiatives that can improve labor, service levels or profitability can be achieved and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Jack in the Box CEO Darin Harris said of the Miso partnership during the company’s November earnings call.
As the labor shortage drags on, restaurants are increasingly adopting technology and automation, Suri said. The drive-thru is also poised for transformation if the labor shortage persists, he said, since low-wage employees may have more job options that draw them away from QSRs. Automation may be needed to fill that gap.
“The AI will never ask you to wait. It'll be very clear, easy to understand. They'll make less mistakes,” Suri said. “It'll also be much faster, and the restaurants can save five to 10 labor hours a day while making more money because the AI never forgets to upsell.”
Presto’s AI tool can update menus if a restaurant adds a new LTO, or if an item is not being offered on a certain day, Suri said. Because of the AI’s ability to upsell, Suri claims that the technology can increase a restaurant’s revenue by 6% and margins by 10%. Presto is working to integrate loyalty programs with its Voice AI system as well, he said.
Presto expects this type of technology to be in tens of thousand of drive-thrus in the near future, and to be nearly ubiquitouswithin five years, Suri said.
The Checkers & Rally’s rollout of Presto’s AI tech has led to an over 3.8 times more upsell attempts, and savings equivalent to the costs of one full-time employee, Suri said during a presentation at ICR. While the initial rollout was for about 200 corporate stores, Suri said its system is currently in more Checkers & Rally’s locations than that and expects to have AI in all of the chain’s stores in the future.