Automation is the key to unlocking greater productivity and innovation, freeing up humans to focus on higher-level work and creative endeavors. And automated order taking, well, it is going to be one of the top trends in the restaurant industry in 2023.
At its foundation, restaurant automation increases efficiency; when implemented correctly, it can significantly reduce costs and boost productivity. Even technology comes with a price tag, continuous innovations and wide adoption make them more accessible and cost-effective.
Automated order-taking refers to technology, operating systems, or software that take orders from customers and respond to them automatically. The drive-through voice ordering system is a well-known example of automated order-taking.
But why should you automate order taking when everything is working fine for you?
According to Fast Casual research, 8 out of 10 US customers use voice search to locate restaurants. And 1 out of 4 such people visit the restaurant that shows up in voice search. The voice-ordering Artificial Intelligence (AI) system automates and optimizes order-taking through natural language processing (NLP) and reliable voice recognition. This improves the speed and accuracy with which quick service restaurants are able to process orders.
Why Should You Integrate Automated Order Taking?
Customers are already looking forward to restaurants suggesting menu options based on their order history. And restaurants too, are gearing up to provide these personalized services and offer new experiences. They are also considering providing customized dining experiences based on trends, promotions, and even the weather. But why?
Here are some reasons why you should integrate automated order-taking in your restaurant:
Boost Sales and Generate More Orders
An interactive AI phone ordering system enables restaurants to increase sales and order volume by answering multiple calls simultaneously.
Instead of placing customers on hold during rush hours, a virtual assistant can simultaneously respond to all the calls, take orders, and provide an excellent customer experience.
Plus, this would free up time for your employees, enabling them to focus on important tasks such as food preparation, cleaning dishes, and waiting tables.
According to a report, 64% of US consumers are interested in ordering food using voice AI. Why would you not want to capitalize on this?
Seamless Order-Taking Process
When you use an automated ordering platform, your usual order-taking process is streamlined and made easy. By giving your full attention to customers picking up takeout, you will make them happy and increase their customer experience.
Additionally, since the customer is in charge of placing the order, accuracy goes up, and waste goes down.
Also, due to the reduced noise level in the restaurant, it is impossible to be misheard, ensuring complete satisfaction.
Reduced Third-Party Costs
There are many reasons why it’s good for restaurants to run their own online ordering systems.
For instance, if you get yourself a POS, if you don’t already have one, you won’t have to pay commission fees. This would allow you to profit from online delivery and pickup services without sharing revenue with a third-party aggregator.
Both national and local restaurant chains like Nando’s, McDonald’s, and Lou Malnati’s have online ordering software for this very reason. These apps are also the perfect way to run loyalty programs for customers.
How Should You Integrate Automated Order Taking?
For integrating automated order taking into your overall automation process, you have several options. One is employing voice software at the drive-thru. Or you could set up self-checkout kiosks and fast-food joints.
Here are a few ways that you can integrate automated order-taking in your restaurant:
AI Voice Assistants
Interactive voice AI is the perfect way for food-service franchise owners to fix the old and inefficient way customers order food in restaurants.
Voice AI can connect to all ways of ordering, like the drive-thru and the restaurant phone system, and send orders from customers to the POS system in real-time. This not only gives the front-of-house staff more time to work on other tasks, but also improves the rate of order fulfillment. This means your guests don’t have to wait for a long time to eat.
Plus, voice-AI ordering assistants that automate the ordering process could make restaurant staff twice as productive during peak hours. Since staff members no longer have to type in guest orders by hand, they can focus on more critical tasks and interact with guests in person.
Self-service kiosks have grown in popularity among quick-service restaurants. In fact, the market for self-service kiosks worth $12 billion in 2020 is expected to cross $20 billion by 2027.
McDonald’s locations worldwide, for example, now allow customers to place their orders using kiosks. Moreover, this type of automation is appearing in new and more creative ways, particularly as many restaurants strive to make the dining experience at their establishment contactless in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Restaurants are increasingly abandoning touchscreens to allow customers to order ahead of time or from their tables using their devices. QR codes are also commonly used in restaurants to access menus and specials.
According to a report, 43% of restaurant customers prefer placing orders using their mobiles. Mobile order-ahead is an online ordering system that lets restaurants make their ordering apps or online ordering portals. The process takes place on the user’s device, so contact is not needed at any point.
Customers can look at the menu, place orders, and pay for food from their phones. They are informed when their order is ready, and they can either pick it up themselves or have the restaurant bring it.
Plus, the orders go directly to your POS system, and payments are already taken care of. They also have complete control over customer data, which they can use in their loyalty program to make customers more loyal by giving them deals tailored to their needs.
Restaurants that use an online ordering system can increase their takeout profits by 30%. This is because using an automated ordering system can reduce the commissions you pay to payment processors and food marketplaces.
In addition, the system is successful at attracting new customers and retaining the loyalty of current ones because. Additionally, since 70% of consumers prefer to order food directly from restaurants, technology is guaranteed to attract more customers.
Moreover, when properly integrated into the restaurant’s POS system, automated order-taking makes it easier to track multiple orders simultaneously. As a result, customers can place orders quickly, and the order gets to the kitchen in a matter of seconds, eliminating human error and lengthy delivery times.