Restaurant Technology News: Sonic Tests AI, Roti Serves Up Digital, Starbucks Gets Personal


Restaurant Technology News: Sonic Tests AI, Roti Serves Up Digital, Starbucks Gets Personal

Restaurant Technology News: Sonic Tests AI, Roti Serves Up Digital, Starbucks Gets Personal

Roti Modern Mediterranean Serves Up a New Digital Customer Experience

Founded in 2007, Roti Modern Mediterranean, the Chicago-based fast casual Mediterranean chain which operates 40 locations nationally, including Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Dallas and Minneapolis, is embracing next-generation technology innovation.

The company, which last year secured a $23 million equity investment to help drive growth and expansion, is deploying an end-to-end technology suite enabled by solution provider eatsa. The technology integrates everything from kiosks and POS systems to mobile ordering, cubby lockers and delivery.

Incidentally, the Roti equity investment was led by Valor Equity Partners, a Chicago based growth investment firm which also invested in a number of restaurant technology companies, including eatsa.

Eatsa features a product that combines futuristic ordering kiosks with a cubby-based delivery system. By deploying eatsa’s technology solution, Roti is aiming to increase throughput and enhance of the overall customer experience. The goal is to deliver a more convenient guest experience with shorter wait times and more seamless customization.

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Restaurant Technology News: Sonic Tests AI, Roti Serves Up Digital, Starbucks Gets Personal

Sonic Drive-In To Pilot AI Voice Assistant and Personalized Dynamic Menu

The drive-thru accounts for more than 70 percent of quick service restaurant (QSR) transactions, yet, despite the surge in restaurant technology innovation, the drive-thru experience has scarcely changed for decades — that is, until now.

As reported here, McDonald’s will begin using AI-enabled platform capabilities to present customized menu items on its digital signage at drive-through locations. The menu items that it serves up will be based on an individual customer’s initial food order and also according to such factors as the weather, the time of day, and how busy the restaurant is at the moment. The menu can also be used to serve up “popular” items that also happen to have particularly high profit margins.

Another example of next-generation technology is Valyant AI, a Colorado-based technology solution provider behind a new technology that being called the world’s first conversational AI platform for the quick serve restaurant industry.

As reported here,  quick service drive thru restaurant in Denver, Colorado, Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, was the first eatery to deploy the AI-enabled voice-activated order taker. The system is specially engineered to handle the types of conversations that take place in the context of a drive thru restaurant and to automatically send menu orders to the kitchen according to those conversations.

Now Sonic Drive-In, the fast-food restaurant chain owned by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, is getting into the game. The Oklahoma-based company announced this week that it, too, is testing the waters of next-generation drive-through technology. Currently, there are more than 3,600 Sonic locations in 45 U.S. states.

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Restaurant Technology News: Sonic Tests AI, Roti Serves Up Digital, Starbucks Gets Personal

Starbucks Brews Up New Technology Innovations With Help From Microsoft

Technology innovation is nothing new at Starbucks. The ubiquitous coffee house has a long history of tackling big ideas and forward-thinking solutions across both the digital and non-digital landscape. It has been said that the chain, which now operates over 30,000 locations worldwide, keeping more than 100 million customers sufficiently well-caffeinated on a weekly basis, is as much a tech company as a coffee company.

Over the past decade, Starbucks has taken the lead on pioneering a host of technology-enabled initiatives. To name just a few: As early as 2008, the company was experimenting with a crowdsourcing community website to collect customer ideas and feedback. In 2010, it was named the most popular social media brand.

In 2011, following a successful two-year pilot, Starbucks launched a nationwide mobile payment app and the nation’s largest mobile payment program. Later that year, it launched the Starbucks Card eGift feature, which was the first program of its kind.

Starbucks was also among the first national chains to offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi in all its locations. In 2014, it announced a plan to install 100,000 wireless chargers in more than 7,500 of its stores. In 2015, it launched Mobile Order & Pay nationally in the U.S., building customer loyalty through order-ahead functionality. And the list goes on.

Now the list is about to grow with a new series of first-of-its-kind restaurant innovations. Some of the technology-enabled business initiatives currently underway are as cutting edge as anything that came before, with implementations that range from cloud computing to machine learning to blockchain services — in part, to create more personalized guest experiences.

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Restaurant Technology News: Sonic Tests AI, Roti Serves Up Digital, Starbucks Gets Personal

New AI Solution Enables Restaurants to Instantly Deliver Personalized Menus Based On Guests’ Dietary Restrictions

Today, over 100 million Americans are following special diets with multiple restrictions. To help restaurants address this reality, New York City-based solution provider THE.FIT has launched a menu personalization engine that allows them to create customized menus for each guest, according to their individual dietary preferences, in a matter of just a few seconds.

The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform is designed to enable restaurants to increase ticket sizes and strengthen margins while delighting guests.

Previously, diners with specific diet or lifestyle preferences relied on servers’ recommendations or menu dietary symbols and fine print. THE.FIT automates and simplifies this process. Participating restaurants will provide guests with a QR code that will take them to a page on their mobile phone where they can select their dietary preferences and view a personalized menu.

Upon each subsequent visit, THE.FIT’s technology leverages AI to collect data—including ordering habits, demographics and social engagement—to improve the customer experience through enhanced personalization.

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Restaurant Technology News is the hospitality industry’s premier source of information and insights related to technology innovation at the world’s leading quick service, fast casual and full service restaurants. Our reporting, research and opinion pieces reveal how forward-thinking restaurant operators are upgrading their technology capabilities to improve operational performance and the quality of the guest experience, as well as to reduce waste and improve environmental sustainability, and how top solution providers are advancing the frontier on next-generation restaurant technologies.