- KFC Canada this week began a test of Google's food ordering feature that's available on the search giant's website, mobile apps and voice-powered devices. Customers who search for KFC on Google Search or Google Maps will see an "Order Online" button that brings them to a digital menu for a nearby restaurant. The feature lets customers order food for delivery or pickup, and pay for it within the Google platform, per an announcement.
- KFC Canada also is letting customers place orders through its voice-powered Google Assistant on Android and iOS phones. By saying, "Hey Google, order food from KFC," Google Assistant will wake up to take an order.
- Google Assistant also will store past orders to speed up the ordering process for repeat customers. By saying, "Hey Google, order food again from KFC," customers can place an order based on their purchase history at the fast-food chain, which has 600 locations in Canada, per the announcement.
KFC Canada's pilot program with Google shows how parent company Yum! Brands is using its Canadian operation to test some of the latest technologies. The fast-food chain offers multiple ways for customers to order food, and an integration with Google aims to ease some of the friction with payments and recalling past orders. It's not clear how many consumers order food through virtual assistants like Google Assistant, but the adoption of voice shopping may provide some indication. Researcher eMarketer this month said in a revised outlook that shopping by smart speaker was growing more slowly than previously forecast.
KFC Canada's pilot also is a chance for Google to showcase its food-ordering features that include digital payments and an integration with its voice-powered Google Assistant. The search giant preinstalls Google Assistant on its Chrome browser and branded devices, such as its Pixel smartphones and Google Nest smart speakers.
Apple is the leader in the virtual assistant market with a 35% market share for Siri, followed by 22% for Microsoft's Cortana, 9% for Google Assistant and 4% for Amazon Alexa, per a study by Futuresource Consulting. The company predicted that 2020 will mark the first year that shipments of voice-enabled products overtake those without voice capability.
Earlier this month, KFC Canada rolled out a feature that lets customers chat with founder and former spokesperson Colonel Harland Sanders as the first company to use new voice technology from Amazon. KFC Canada recreated Sanders' voice with Amazon Polly, the tech giant's artificial intelligence (AI) tool that turns text into lifelike speech, enabling Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant to sound like other voices.