Voice automation platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa are a relatively new technology, but are already disrupting the way restaurants do business.
Dunkin’ Donuts recently introduced voice-activated ordering, placing the restaurants among others who have already embraced the technology such as Pizza Hut, Wingstop, and Starbucks.
Consulting firm Capgemini predicts that consumers will use voice-activated ordering for at least 18 percent of their orders within the next three years (up from three percent now).
OC&C Strategy Consultants added weight to Capgemini’s prediction in a report they released earlier this year that estimates voice shopping revenue to grow to a staggering $40 billion by 2022.
Companies such as Orderscape are forming to help restaurants capitalize on the industry’s changing tech landscape. But, before restaurants can actualize any benefits of the technology, they must have an idea of what it can do for them on both monetary and customer service levels.
Customers want convenient ordering platforms
Have you ever tried ordering pizza online from a neighborhood joint only to find out their website is less user friendly than a shopping cart that’s missing a wheel? You’re not alone.
According to an orderTalk survey from January, nearly two-thirds of Americans order food via the internet of a smartphone application. At least 45 percent of respondents said they expect their use of such platforms to increase within the next year as well.
Voice automation offers consumers the easy and accessible ordering experience they want without having to leave the comforts of their couch.
Once platforms such as Alexa have a restaurant’s full menu in their database, customers can ask for recommendations for their favorite dishes available in their neighborhood.
This will place a higher onus on every restauranteur’s favorite word: reviews.
Amazon’s personal assistant feature currently gives recommendations based on Yelp reviews. It stands to reason that other voice automated programs will also use this feature when recommending restaurants to customers.
Restaurants have the ability to shrug off bad online reviews currently, but once those reviews become integrated with voice automated search features, reviews will become impossible to ignore.
Move toward delivery services
A recent report from Forbes predicts delivery sales could rise to $365 billion by 2035, largely due to millennial and Gen-Z consumption patterns.
The 20 percent growth in delivery sales and 10 percent growth in delivery food service visits are due to growth in digital ordering, according to a study by the NPD Group.
Another report from Inc. Magazine shows that Gen-Z and millennial consumers order delivery at three-times the rate of their parents.
These trends are already forcing restaurants to consider adding delivery features, but voice automation may shove them over the edge.