- Checkers & Rally's will install Presto's artificial intelligence-based voice assistant at all of its corporate-owned restaurants this year. This partnership is the largest rollout of an AI-based voice assistant solution in the hospitality industry, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive
- Presto launched its Voice product in August, claiming in a release that the solution has an accuracy rate of over 95% and improves labor productivity. During its test of Presto's technology at multiple locations in 2021, Checkers & Rally's yielded an accuracy rate of over 98% with minimal intervention from employees, per the release.
- McDonald's is also testing autonomous voice ordering at a handful of locations, while Burger King is rolling out predictive selling technology at its drive-thrus. Krystal is also testing AI that can take orders from customers with Southern accents.
As a double-drive-thru brand, Checkers & Rally's generates most of its business through the window, so efficiency in the channel is critical. CEO Frances Allen said this AI drive-thru technology will help team members maximize their time.
Presto's technology could free up employees to perform other tasks and ease massive labor shortages in the industry. Checkers & Rally's plan to leverage the technology to increase the guest-to-staff ratio in the drive-thru and "enhance guest interaction overall," according to the release.
Labor shortages have been a hindrance for the industry throughout the pandemic, with major chains cutting hours because they don't have the staff to cover shifts. Nearly 80% of restaurant operators recently told the National Restaurant Association they don't have enough workers.
In this environment, labor productivity has become critical. Tech-enabled operational efficiencies offer one path to increased productivity. According to Tech Jury, over 97% of businesses, including restaurants, are now investing in big data and AI, while Zuppler predicts a 175% increase in overall usage of AI-enabled products in foodservice this year.
Still, scaling AI throughout the industry could be a challenge as McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski told CNBC in June, with an "infinite number of promo permutations, menu permutations, dialect permutations, weather and on and on and on."
But the adoption of AI in the Checkers and Rally's system is an indication that scaling is possible. About 30% of the system is corporate-owned, meaning the technology will be rolled out to about 250 restaurants.