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Chatbot AbilitiesMarch 11, 2019Written by Jamie Roe

Restaurant Chatbots: A Case Study in Delighting Customers

Conversational chatbots and AI are rooting themselves into many industries and changing the way that customers and staff interact with businesses.

We’ve seen many examples of productivity increases within several industries and multiple departments, from human resources to sales.

But what about restaurant chatbots? Sure, they can’t clear tables or refill empty drinks glasses (yet), but what can a chatbot add to a restaurant business to improve productivity?

Gartner predicted a while back that 85% of enterprise-to-customer interactions would be completed without human input.

Non-human interactions have since become standard in everyday customer activity. The technology has landed and is in the midst of expanding. Food outlets are no exception.

 

What major food brands are using chatbots?

Restaurant chatbots are emerging as a popular new and convenient way for customers to order their favourite meals from chains such as Subway, TGI Friday, Starbucks and Burger King.

With the millennial generation more likely to prefer digital communication over a telephone call, these technologies in major outlets will soon be the expectation.

 

How accessible are they?

Food chains favour Facebook Messenger and Amazon Alexa for their chatbot. These channels allow customers to place orders, find nearby restaurants, book tables and even explore recipes.

Gone are the days of making your customers wait for a table (or even call in). The chatbot is not just a faster experience for the customer, it also benefits your in-house team. Busy waiters and waitresses will no longer have to balance phone calls with all of those trays full of food and drink.

The ease of access of chatbots also lowers the barrier to entry. Brands are no longer just on the high street. They’re a part of our everyday lives on social media, too. Catch your customers scrolling through their feed and allow them to easily order their favourite meals there and then.

 

How do chatbots increase productivity?

From what we have seen, there are multiple benefits a chatbot brings to the productivity of a restaurant business including:

  • Ease of access - No more waiting on hold or dodgy phone lines for customers.
  • Freeing staff for a better experience - With the bookings and/or orders taken care of, staff can focus on giving your patrons a fantastic dining experience. No distractions.
  • Order assistance - Busy waiters, or inexperienced staff may not have the knowledge or inclination to suggest sides or a good bottle of wine. The chatbot can. Side salad with your chicken burger, sir? Yes, please!
  • Get to know your customers - For fast food chains, in particular, customer retention is all about getting that re-order. A restaurant chatbot remembers your customers' orders and makes it super easy for them to re-order their favourites.
  • Travel - Catch those customers who are new to the area. Through your chatbot, they can discover the nearest restaurant and even get directions to your establishment.

 

What are the numbers?

Like many new technologies, the proof is certainly in the pudding.

Recent stats from the usage of the Just Eat chatbot show the average user spent 1.53 minutes interacting with it. This usage drove a 266% increase in user conversion rate (source).

Whether this was additional conversions or conversions from customers who would have normally picked up the phone - it does go to show that the demand and preference are there.