It's been an eventful year for all of us, including Jersey Mike's. Last year, the chain expanded to all 50 U.S. states, demonstrating proliferating sales figures even while other fast-casual chains have floundered post-pandemic and in the face of unwavering inflation. Now, the sandwich chain is staying at the head of the pack by keeping with the times, aka implementing a new A.I. ordering system in 50 locations.
The conversational voice assistant was created in collaboration with A.I. technology developer SoundHound, which is best known as a music recognition-slash-song identification app like Shazam. It has been trained to learn every sub on Jersey Mike's menu and it can take orders over the phone, even handling multiple orders at one time. Got any questions about menu items, specials, promotions, store opening times, parking, or allergens? The machine can answer 'em all.
According to an official press release from SoundHound shared Wednesday, the voice assistant allows customers can speak normally as they place phone orders. Keyvan Mohajer, SoundHound's CEO and co-founder, emphasized the importance of streamlining delivery and pick-up orders and how technology can play a pivotal role in achieving that for restaurants like Jersey Mike's.
The Restaurant Industry Adapting Over And Over Again In The New Age
It's perhaps no wonder that Jersey Mike's is leaning into artificial intelligence considering its reliance on digital sales. As CIO Scott Scherer told Fast Casual last year, digital orders account for 40% of Jersey Mike's total sales. Revolutionizing customer experience and increasing the speed of service means more accurate pick-up times for online orders and hotter, fresher subs for customers. Other fast food industry leaders including McDonald's, Domino's, Checkers, Rally's, Chipotle, Wingstop, and Wendy's have already begun implementing A.I. voice bots to take orders in the drive-thru and over the phone.
In December, SoundHound purchased SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions, a voice-based food ordering assistant startup, for $25 million. The A.I. ordering system has already proven efficient (and successful in upselling customers to order more items) in other chains. As White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson said of the SoundHound voice system in an interview via Morning Star, "It is very interactive, frees up employees, helped with order accuracy, and customers like it." (At White Castle, the bot is called Julia.)
Some A.I. ordering systems have even taken an imaginative route and used the voice of familiar figures fans already know and love to build positive rapport. At Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken locations in Ohio, the ordering bot uses the voice of sports broadcaster and radio host Keith Byars. Call it playful, call it scary, but whatever you call it, chances are you're going to be calling it for dinner.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.