“Welcome, may I take your order please?” This is a phrase many fast-food fans are all too familiar with. This automated voice will soon make way for more AI voice bots, learning your preferences, scanning your number plates, making the customer experience faster and more pleasant. One way interactions with voice machines will be replaced with full on conversations with machine operators, greeting hungry customers in drive-thru queues. According to the Food Institute, soon some drive-thru restaurants will feature recognizable voices of celebrities or sports heroes.
White Castle in the U.S is the latest franchise to add AI voice bots at its front counter. The burger chain revealed in a press statement that it will be using SoundHound’s AI-powered voice bots. It will be implemented at over 100 of its restaurants by the end of next year.
Steve Orenstein is the CEO of Locate2u. He is keeping a close eye on the latest developments regarding AI and how it’s revolutionizing the e-commerce and delivery industries. Having been in charge of successful companies from the age of 19, Orenstein believes it’s only the beginning of where faster delivery will improve rapidly.
Conversations with a robot
“When you think about the drive through restaurants they can recognize your number plate, they will be able to look at your previous order history and would be able to remember what you ordered last time,” says Orenstein.
Zohaib Ahmed, the CEO of Resemble AI told The Food Institute the plan is to make machine voices sound less artificial. “Customers may find it easier to understand and interact with a voice-ordering system that uses a voice that sounds more like a real person, rather than a robotic or artificial voice.”
Robots replacing humans?
Surely there will be concerns from the labour force whether this would drive workers out of their jobs. It’s a natural concern. Orenstein is confident this won’t be the case. “There is no doubt that it’s going to happen.”
A recent study conducted by the National Restaurant Association called Restaurant Industry Report highlighted the importance of growing job opportunities in the sector. “The foodservice industry workforce is projected to grow by 500,000 jobs, for total industry employment of 15.5 million by the end of 2023 and surpassing pre-pandemic levels.”
More restaurants will be using technology to boost the workforce, to put less pressure on humans. This could drive more customers and revenue.
AI could lead to price reductions of products
There are many factors to celebrate with the normalization of AI, including the impact on cost of living. At a time where the economic climate is making citizens nervous globally, it could result in products becoming cheaper.
“I think it’s going to mean the cost of living will be going down. It’s going to become more affordable to do certain things. We are living in an environment right now where there is a lot of inflation increasing costs. AI might be something that is going to help reduce inflation. It’s definitely interesting to see how AI impacts businesses and general employees,” said Orenstein.