It’s convenient, it’s satisfying, and it’s inexpensive. With more menu choices than ever, about one-quarter of the U.S. population eats at a fast-casual or quick-service restaurant (QSR) on a daily basis, with over 70% using the drive-thru lane.
The drive-thru has been a lifeline for many restaurant chains, and the industry remains stronger than ever as more restaurants are investing in their drive-thru to meet growing consumer demand amid rising food costs, labor costs, energy costs, and even rent hikes - all skyrocketing to unheard of levels.
The creative use of enterprise-grade automation and optimization solutions can help restaurants meet macroeconomic challenges head-on, so they can operate more efficiently, serve customers more expediently, and offer a guest experience to remember. Next-gen A.I.-powered voice assistants like Presto Voice may well be the answer. Unlike other assets, technology generally grows cheaper over time—which may mean that an investment today could pay dividends tomorrow.
When deployed correctly, A.I. voice assistants can augment existing staff, allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks while greeting drive-thru guests, taking their orders, and offering to upsell suggestions that can result in increased profit margins, but more importantly, it can maximize customer satisfaction.
Like humans, though, not all voice assistants are created equal. The best voice assistants inhabit an important sweet spot: they’re both human enough to appeal to your customers and automated enough to help you realize real profits.
Here are six important questions to ask yourself when evaluating an A.I. voice automation solution.
Question 1. Does it get the order right?
According to the most recent annual Drive-Thru Report by QSR and Intouch Insight, “consumers ranked order accuracy as the most important factor for a positive drive-thru.” Based on the survey, the top 10 industry leaders had an order accuracy of 79.4% to 89.6%.
At quick-service restaurants, one thing is important above all else: delivering the right food to the right customer. That means superior order accuracy is table stakes for an AI-powered voice assistant. When considering which voice assistant to deploy, make sure to evaluate the technology’s order completion percentage.
Question 2. Does it sound human-like, and is it conversational?
A pervasive fear among restaurant operators who are reticent to embrace automation is that digital tools like voice assistants will detract from the customer experience. They worry that guest-facing computers could feel cold and impersonal–and, in turn, drive diners away from their drive-thrus.
For that reason, choosing a voice assistant that sounds like a friendly human and is technically advanced enough to speak conversationally is critical. Your voice assistant should integrate frictionlessly into your customer’s drive-thru experience and understand various vernacular and turns of phrase, so customers needn’t worry about modifying their language as they place their orders.
Question 3. Does it consistently upsell?
Finding a voice assistant that can relieve pressure from your existing staff by taking orders accurately and interacting appropriately with guests is just the first step. If you select the right partner, you can even leverage the technology to increase your profit margins.
The right voice assistant can actually be a better selection to manage your drive-thru than certain employees. When programmed correctly, voice assistants never forget to upsell customers.
Question 4. Does it connect seamlessly with your existing drive-thru and POS systems?
The best technologies work together to extract as much value as possible, both in terms of productivity and profitability. When selecting your drive-thru voice assistant, ensure that it connects seamlessly with your existing drive-thru and POS systems. It also makes it easier for staff to get up-to-speed with the new technology, and it reduces the likelihood of errors that decrease productivity and detract from the customer experience.
Question 5. Does it easily capture all the nuances of your menu?
When selecting your voice assistant, make sure it can easily integrate with the most important item to your customers: the restaurant menu. Your voice assistant should have real-time access to the most up-to-date information on menu items, prices, and specials. If you select the right tool, your voice assistant could have a better understanding of the menu than some of your staff members.
Question 6. Does it have enterprise experience?
The right voice assistant for your business won’t just integrate with your POS system; you need to contend with making sure their technological deployments grow with you. Ensure the technology vendor has the resources, enterprise-grade technology, expertise, and capability to scale its next-gen A.I.-powered drive-thru solution to hundreds and thousands of locations seamlessly and quickly.
If you’re considering adding a voice assistant to your drive-thru, congratulations: you’re taking the first step toward creating a more efficient, more productive, and more pleasant experience for your staff and guests alike. You need a voice assistant that’s a happy mix of art and science–which understands the art of guest relations and the science of smooth integration, accurate order-taking, and optimized upsell potential. Welcome to the world of A.I. voice assistants for the restaurant drive-thru