It's like the Siri of the fast food industry.
Fries With That
Earlier this month, Colorado-based startup Valyant AI announced the launch of a voice-based AI customer service platform, which is now taking customer orders at the drive-thru at Denver's Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard.
"We’re excited to deliver a customer service experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before," Valyant AI CEO Rob Carpenter said in a press release.
Unlike multipurpose assistants such as Alexa or Siri, Valyant's fast food AI has just one ability: greet drive-thru customers, take their order, and send them down the line. According to Carpenter, putting an AI in charge of this task could benefit both customers and restaurants.
"Seconds count in the drive-thru, and if customers see a long line, they’ll often keep driving and look for another restaurant," he said. "By improving ordering accuracy and decreasing wait times, our platform improves the customer service experience and allows Good Times to serve more customers more quickly."
Good Times COO Scott Lefever believes even the employees benefit from the fast food AI platform.
"By freeing employees to spend more time focused on the customer at the window, we’re providing better and faster service to our customers and a more enjoyable experience for our employees," he said in the press release.
Fill a Need
Right now, Valyant's AI is only taking breakfast orders and only at one restaurant, but there's a clear trend of the fast food industry moving toward automation in general. We're seeing an increase in self-serve kiosks, robots that cook, and self-cleaning equipment.
These machines aren't necessarily taking jobs from humans either — according to several reports, fast food companies are having an increasingly difficult time finding and keeping employees.
"The only way to truly deal with this is to reduce the number of labor hours that are required to run your concept," restaurants analyst Peter Saleh told Business Insider. "And, I feel like the only way to really do that is to implement technology."
READ MORE: At This Fast-Food Drive-Through, the Person Taking Your Order Might Not Be a Person at All [The Washington Post]
More on fast food: Ordering Food via Touchscreen Is so Fun You Spend More Money When You Do It