Restaurant

What if your customers want to order food from you but you aren’t ready?

I remember one time years ago on a lunch shift, when it was 11:45 AM, a full 15 minutes after we we were scheduled to open for business as usual, but there was not a single customer in the restaurant. The bartender was ready and the foodservers were standing by in their assigned sections. The hostess was primed with menus in hand and the kitchen was prepped and ready for another busy lunch. We always opened with a small line of hungry customers outside. Our doors always open precisely at 11:30 AM. But, this was weird. Not a single customer was in the restaurant, a full 15 minutes into our lunch shift. I was the manager/owner at the time and I was in the kitchen completing a line check when a server casually said “what’s the deal? No customers”. I immediately came out, went to the front door and there, standing in line were about 50 people. A couple of them were looking in the windows seemingly asking the same question, WTF? Yep, the doors were locked. The lunch was fine, after we managed the crazy rush seating 50 people all at once. But, this was a big business lesson that has never left me. You can’t sell food to customers if the doors are locked.

Orderscape is a visionary voice technology startup with a big vision to disrupt and redefine how consumers order food using mobile devices. Talk, order, eat is a mantra around here because that’s all it is. Say what you want into a microphone and then pick up your meal or have it delivered. Simple, efficient and hands free. Elegant frankly, because it’s so natural for humans to just use our voice. But the technology is crazy complex to develop. It’s taken 2 years and while we’re ready to go, but we’re dealing with locked doors on the restaurant side of the marketplace.

Yes, we’re “early”. I’ve heard that hundreds of times over the past 2 years from investors and operators and even some technology vendors. RestTech experts are wowed by our vision and compliment us on our technology. Many of these restaurant technology vendors are anxious to work with us because they know voice is here today and will be a big, big deal. Research companies know this too. Capgemini polled thousands of voice assistant users and discovered 56% of them wanted to order food from restaurants now, today, if they could. But they can’t, not yet. They could with Orderscape’s Universal Menu platform, however. Narvar Consumer Reports said, 60.5M people in the U.S. today are already using digital assistants like Alexa to conduct searches and place orders. Demand is here. Orderscape is here. So are we just early? Or, are the doors just locked?

  • Research predicts over 50% of mobile search will be voice enabled by 2020. To be discovered menus must be voice-enabled.
  • Foodservice is an $800B industry with 1M restaurants in 2018, so lets create some menu supply to meet the demand for ordering using voice
  • 53.8M consumers spent $20B buying restaurant food online in 2017. This is projected to grow to $40B by 2022, so this is going to get bigger and more important to restaurants
  • 52% of consumers prefer to use a voice assistant over a website. Sounds like consumers are waiting in line to buy food from restaurants that aren’t voice ready
  • Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook, among other giants, are spending billion of dollars developing and marketing voice assistants for home, office and mobile access, so the more devices the more customers
Orderscape has cracked the code on transactional voice commerce for restaurants at scale with our patents pending conversational commerce and voice search platform that connects with Amazon’s Echo/Alexa, and Google’s Home/Assistant and soon, Orderscape’s voice ordering web/mobile portal. In partnership with leading food ordering platforms, we are ingesting thousands of restaurant menus (locations) and millions of menu items to build a massive food taxonomy that supports Orderscape as the leading voice-first food ordering portal. Think of us as the voice ordering/commerce and search layer to branded merchant apps powered by platforms. Our e-commerce microphone is designed to be a voice-first, food-first, consumer-facing gateway with a direct connection between consumers and restaurant brands. Yes, it works today and can work for millions of restaurants. Any restaurants, any cuisine for full-menu ordering.
Everything is about voice today, not five years from now. It’s already here. We are in the dawn of a complete consumer voice revolution. Our vision is to power the e-commerce microphone, and bring sales, awareness and customer engagement to thousands of restaurant brands and a superior user experience to millions of consumers. I hope restaurant operators will suspend disbelief and open their minds to the art of the possible; in this case the notion that voice search and commerce is a THING today. If they do, maybe the doors would unlock, and customers will walk in.
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Michael L. AtkinsonWhat if your customers want to order food from you but you aren’t ready?
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Hear your analytics dashboard speak using VoiceKPI, Powered by Orderscape

While our vision is to power the conversational commerce microphone on all restaurant mobile devices, we are in fact, a full-service voice technology company. This means that while we are focused like a laser beam on our platform that enables consumers to order food using voice assistants and smartphones, we do have other products that serve the needs restaurants. Our first non-transactional product is VoiceKPI, which is a back-of-house tool for managers. This voice-enabled management tool will absolutely save a restaurant manager time that can be reallocated elsewhere – training, development, recruiting, strategy or for touching tables and engaging with guests; where they should be spending time. VoiceKPI eliminates the need to visit a website to open their analytics application, view, scan and interpret data from a confusing analytics dashboard with charts, graphs and a myriad of confusing datasets. Restaurant managers are not data scientists. But they do want and needs access to key metrics that can help run their operations. What if all they had to do to know what happened or what’s happening now, is to ask VoiceKPI “Alexa, how’s my restaurant doing?” Spending money on expensive back-office data and analytics systems is wasted unless management can easily access and use the data. Then, know what is important and apply these insights to help run their restaurant. VoiceKPI not only saves operators time but it provides easy access to business insights that every manager must know to run their business.

VoiceKPI is completely customizable and configurable for any manager, regional manager, director of operations, CFO, CEO or owner. It comes pre-configured with 5 core Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that every restaurant should have. Then, they can add KPI’s to suit their individual requirements. What are your favorite data to help you run your restaurant more effectively? Want to add social media insights? Weather? Labor analysis and reservations? Add alerts? Bundle insights by region or franchise group? Sure, no problem. While many operators use the same core KPI’s, others will have their favorites. Whatever data is collected and whatever insights are analyzed by your current back-office system, we can verbalize. If you want, we can even integrate directly with a POS, to provide on-the-fly insights accessed via Google Assistant during the shift.

Use cases include having an Amazon Echo – Alexa device in the restaurant office connected to your internal WiFi. Each manager can have access to these shared insights. There is no need to login to your back-office system and open a screen. Just ask “Alexa, I need my morning briefing” and listen, taking notes if you wish, or asking her to repeat any insight. Another use case is using Alexa on the fly or adding Google Assistant so now, VoiceKPI is mobile. If you’re a DO, ask “Alexa, what the status at unit 123” while driving between restaurants. Saving time and creating efficiencies using automation is a key driver to success today.

VoiceKPI is game-changing for the restaurant industry and we’re excited to continue to add value to the industry in new ways.

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Michael L. AtkinsonHear your analytics dashboard speak using VoiceKPI, Powered by Orderscape
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Wall Street is Embracing Alexa

So JPMorgan’s has another way to access its research – Voice Assistants. Alexa is able to send analysts’ reports and related queries, and the bank is testing other features, like providing prices on bonds or swaps, according to David Hudson, global head of markets execution for the New York-based bank. According to a survey conducted last year by Bain & Co, customers are becoming increasingly willing to use voice assistants to monitor accounts. So, trading is going to happen. “Alexa, buy 100 shares of Apple at the market.”

So with voice applications now being used in MedTech and EdTech and now FinTech and soon, transactional Fintech, why is it so hard for investors to believe consumers will want to order food using voice assistants? According to Capgemini, 56% of those polled that own/use voice assistants today, want to order food using Alexa, or Google Assistant. But the problem to be solved, and the one that Orderscape has solved, is product availability. While there may be demand, there is very little inventory of menus – yet! Even if 100% of the consumers polled want to order food today, there are less than 20 restuarant chains in the world that have voice-enabled their menus. That’s really about 20 menus out of millions. So, we need the menus and lots of them to solve the selection problem. Repeating; Orderscape has solved this voice ordering problem at scale and we are working hard to perfect this in the next few months.

The Orderscape Universal Menu technology can voice-enable any restaurant menu at any location, making conversational commerce a THING. If you can believe you can trade a stock using Alexa, one should be able to suspend disbelief that one can order burritos, salads, burgers, Chinese and Indian food too. We’re on it!

See the article here.

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Michael L. AtkinsonWall Street is Embracing Alexa
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The coming reality of voice driven interactions and ordering

I’m in Dallas speaking at a restaurant technology event this week. Nothing gives me more energy than an attentive audience seeking knowledge or insight into the art of the possible in the restaurant technology sector. Well, that’s a dream, really. Having a large engaged audience able to suspend disbelief just long enough to believe that the Voice User Interface (VUI) is really here. And, here now. That they should immediately activate and engage; maybe order some food using just their voice on relevant digital agent platforms. Well, not so fast. It’s still a dream, especially in the restaurant industry where everyone is seemingly born in Missouri…no disrespect to open-minded, forward-thinking Missourian.

But, I did perhaps, just perhaps, convert one or two to the “art of the possible”. The voice economy, if you will.

Then, a lunch with a like-minded, restaurant industry marketing veteran with passion, intelligence and vision. Whatever personal soul-battery that was nearing the red, suddenly was recharged with one sweet conversation. And, it wasn’t all about resttech…it was also about the industry, the people and why we love it so, consistently for, yes, 40 years now. It helped frame the “why do I do this to myself” question. So thanks, Nancy.

I believe that voice interaction and commerce will indeed change this industry positively and if that’s my one big contribution to foodservice, then it’s worth the hundreds of rejections by otherwise, amazing restaurant professionals. Being ignored like Ray Kroc was selling milkshake blenders is just part of the job – persistence. I realize now, all I need are a few believers, like Nancy. So, thanks to the Nancy’s, the dreamers and believers that keep us believing and working hard to inspire and infect our positivity and vision on the decision makers. Restaurant technology is transforming the restaurant industry and I’m glad I’m helping with that.

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Michael L. AtkinsonThe coming reality of voice driven interactions and ordering
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Voice is the Thing in 2018 – Order automation for restaurants

Nothing happens overnight. We hear a song we’ve never heard before by a band we don’t know and think it’s a new band. We hear about a popular and successful restaurant for the first time and think it’s new. But, it’s just new to us. “The overnight success – 30 years in the making”. Humans do this all the time. Signs, phrases, names, and places are invisible to us until they’re not. Then we see these everywhere! Take voice-enabled digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home for example. They are shaping up as ideal candidates to extend the digital consumer ecosystem into every household. While these are still early days for standalone voice devices and massive user adoption, but we are now aware that voice is a thing in 2018. Digital voice assistants are everywhere now and will game-changing for commerce.

Conversational Commerce
Consumer purchases of products and services via voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri, among others, will revolutionize how consumers and brands interact in ways not witnessed since the dawn of e-Commerce. We are at the predawn of a complete consumer voice commerce revolution…that’s exciting! This early adoption by consumers and enlightened fearless brands will drive investment and innovation, consequently enabling an entirely new way for brands to build engagement, grow sales and valuable relationships with consumers.

Orderscape is a pioneer in conversational commerce and order automation for the foodservice industry. We believe voice assistants are about to revolutionize commerce and become the preferred method for consumer interaction and engagement. But, don’t look for a “J-curve of adoption and use just yet. It will grow steadily in 2018 and 2019. Then, 2020 will be the breakout year.We will see users adopt voice at a quicker pace than the smartphone. Why? Well, in part, because these digital voice assistants are mobile too and we all know how to use the smartphone. You don’t necessarily need a stand-alone device to order food.

Already, if you are a Prime member of Amazon, all you need is the Alexa app, or even just the shopping app to utilize Alexa for ordering and tasking. Just click on the Alexa logo in the upper right corner and speak. “Open Fazoli’s”.

According to Capgemini, consumers are embracing voice assistants in their lives. In fact, 40% of consumers will prefer voice assistants over using a website or mobile app in just three years. And, because a conversation is also mobile, 81% surveyed already use smartphones for a search and to order food, search, make payments, play music and for ride-sharing services.

The Restaurant Industry
Orderscape is targeting the global foodservice industry, at least to start. Wherever there are restaurants, we want to power the fourth pillar of food ordering (telephone, web and mobile apps are the first three). Our research suggests that 56% of users are interested in ordering meals from restaurants using voice applications and 34% have already ordered a meal using a voice assistant. And, we are just beginning.

Pizza takeaway pioneer, Domino’s, has been a technology innovator for years. They also offer voice ordering. As early as 2014, Domino’s Pizza launched voice ordering via its iPhone and Android apps.The in-app voice assistant on Alexa, Dominos, can take users’ order for carryout or delivery, handle saved orders, suggest additions to a meal, and add coupons for the best deals. But, this application is for Dominos and just for pizza. Developing a platform to provide a good customer conversational and full-menu food ordering experience at any restaurant with any menu is far more complex. This is our plan and our technology now available to any restaurant that can connect to Orderscape. Our vision is to enable any restaurant with any menu to engage interactively and intelligently with any customer anywhere using our conversational UI to transact a food order. No thumbs or fingers required. Just a voice and a credit card on file at Orderscape, give consumers access to all restaurants in our growing marketplace of menus. And, not just on Alexa. Imagine the power of being able to order food from restaurants near your home, dorm or office with a push of a button or saying “Alexa, open Orderscape, I’m hungry”. We can imagine that. This is why we are automating food ordering and making this happen today.

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Michael L. AtkinsonVoice is the Thing in 2018 – Order automation for restaurants
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