- Chipotle customers can now use Amazon Alexa to reorder their favorite meals for delivery or pickup, according to a press release.
- To access this feature, customers will need to download the Alexa app, enable the Chipotle skill, link it to a Chipotle profile and tell Alexa to reorder a pre-set meal. The fast casual chain will also give away Amazon Echo Dots to existing Chipotle Rewards members named Alexa.
- The company has also rolled out its own AI voice assistants to all 2,500 restaurants, which will allow customers to pay ahead and skip the line and pickup or drive through a Chipotlane to collect the order.
The company's addition of voice ordering is part of Chipotle's larger strategy to boost digital sales, which is approaching $1 billion in sales this year, and ease pain points for customers and employees. That's the main reason why it rolled out second makelines, pickup shelves, Chipotlanes and AI for phone orders.
Voice ordering is becoming a growing area for foodservice and customers are increasingly interested in using it as a tool, even though only 8% of people currently use the speakers for food and beverage shopping, according to a blog post on Toast's website. A survey from MDR Group and Progressive Business Insights found that 20% of consumers are "extremely interested" while 19% are "very interested” in using voice ordering to order food from restaurants.
There is a lot of potential to reach new and existing customers as well, with 74.2 million Americans using these speakers each month and 62% buying something through the devices, according to Toast. Chains like Domino's Denny's, Dunkin', KFC, Pizza Hut and Wingstop currently offer this service and Wendy's is looking into the feature.
There are several benefits for voice ordering. It can allow for better accessibility for people with vision impairments who wouldn't need to use a website, an area of contention in the industry since ADA rules are unclear. Once it is set up, it also takes a few seconds to order and doesn’t require customers to log into accounts to reorder a customer's standard meal.
The downside of ordering via voice is it can be difficult to provide a full menu to consumers, which often contain 50 to 100 items, according to Toast, and why restaurants are likely focusing only on reordering. While this feature could help increase the number of orders from existing customers, it may be more difficult to attract new customers, who may be less inclined to set up an account and link it to Alexa.