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“ALEXA, WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” VOICE TECH FOR SMART FOODSERVICE OPERATORS

More and more consumers are integrating voice technology into their daily routines and the smart restaurants are those that are listening to what the trends say.

“Find a restaurant.” 

“Add to my shopping list.”  

“Order my favorite steak.”  
 
If it’s not happening in your house (or car), studies indicate that it soon might. While only 8% of overall households surveyed used smart speaker voice technology to make food-related purchases in 2018 (Mastercard, National Restaurant Association Show, 2019), that number jumps to about 25% of households currently owning the technology (PYMNTS, 2019).  
 
With the exception of tech leaders like Domino’s and Dunkin’, very few of your competitors are capitalizing on this opportunity. As the technology gains in uptake, so does the likelihood that you need to be aware of and prepared for the potential of voice technology integration. 

WHERE VOICE TECHNOLOGY IS AND WHERE IT'S GOING

Our business, and hospitality in general, is about ease, comfort and convenience. Technology that enhances guest convenience enhances the overall restaurant experience and extends the reach of business beyond its four walls. Whatever you need, your smart speaker is listening.  
 
Once smart speaker technology reaches its full potential, voice ordering will bring convenience to a whole new level: diners will have the ability to hear (and possibly, see) menu items through Google Home or Alexa. As Street Fight Mag recently predicted: 

As the voice ordering technology advances, independent restaurants have an opportunity to increase their revenue through the addition of text and pictures. [T]he addition of pictures on a Google Home or an Alexa is likely to hook a first-time user.

(Street Fight Mag, 2020)

CHANGING THE WHOLE “TO GO” GAME  

Nearly 55% of consumers utilize smart speaker technology while driving for general purchases, including 14% who are clearly using the tech for restaurant-related decision making. 
 
Ad Cucìna predicts that the convenience of texting Mom via a vehicle-based or linked device will lead the way to “find a good burger,” “order ahead,” “check wait times,” and more.  
 
In addition, our cars are increasingly becoming advertising spaces, because of the prevalence of apps like Spotify, Waze and Google Maps. In-app advertising combined with voice technology represents a tremendous opportunity to generate trial and drive decision making. 
 

KFC now has Siri integration. Just say ‘Order a Bucket.’ to order now.

- Hypothetical in-app advertising 

STREAMLINING CUSTOMER ORDERS AND COMMUNICATION 

One of the interesting ideas following the emergence of smart speaker voice technology is its potential applications in-restaurant.  
 
Imagine a drive-thru speaker that no longer requires the manpower or attention of otherwise valuable staff to accurately process orders. Major players are already on the path, as indicated by  McDonald’s recent acquisition of Dynamic Yield, Apprente, & Plexure (Tech Crunch, 2019). 
 
Further, voice technology could potentially eliminate many of the manual processes inside a restaurant, replacing paper order books and data entry stations for communicating with the kitchen, for example. Additional labor-saving applications back-of-house such as line management and inventory management abound and remain to be explored. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU TALK THE TECH 

As you think about integrating voice technology into your operation, there are several things you’ll need help thinking through first: 
 
Is your restaurant tech optimized and ready? Does your mobile app have a microphone feature, for example?  
 
Do you need more drive-through ordering phone reservations right now? Voice ordering is likely to gather more users through drive-through ordering and phone reservations, which already have a captive audience in the U.S. (Street Fight Mag, 2020). 
 
How do you list a complete menu? Voice technology and speak-to-order are more natural fits with LTO promotions or a preset default favorite order. 
 
Will it work with your Loyalty Program? As you know, customers still want their rewards no matter how they’re ordering. 

OUTLOOK 

Voice looks promising because it satisfies a key consumer preference: convenience. Behaviors have not neared a peak from a voice-buying perspective, especially in foodservice.  We’re ready to help you capitalize on this emerging opportunity, and select the right processes, industry-leading products and reliable partner, so you can use voice technology to succeed and grow. 
 
When you’re ready to get started, drop us a line here
 
Or just say “Call Ad Cucìna.”