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Automated Order Takers May Reshape Future of Drive-Through Restaurants

AI will shape our future in many ways. Medill Reports recently published a report about how three AI companies are developing AI-powered voice assistants to improve order-taking at drive-through restaurants.

Drive-through windows make up about 70 percent of fast-food chains’ sales, according to a recent study from QSR Magazine. The industry, however, is facing a serious workforce shortage. According to the 2018 MIT Technology Review, the workforce turnover in the fast-food industry jumped to a record high of 150 percent. Consequence? Longer wait time.

One company, Valyant AI, has piloted one assistant to take breakfast orders at an eatery in Colorado, which experienced a 10% to 25% reduction in average wait time. Meanwhile, Encounter AI’s assistant is designed to improve order accuracy, so food allergies and other potential problems are not overlooked. The software firm Clinc hopes to augment the voice control capabilities of drive-through windows with its own AI, which learns from the different ways people order by analyzing sentence structure.

The potential benefits advertised by these AI companies are plentiful, including faster speed, improved accuracy, customized upsell, higher profitability, and enhanced customer service. So the next time when you shout into the ordering box at a drive-through, you might not be talking to a human but an automated order taker. See Medill Reports’ full article here.