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AI may be coming to a drive thru near you thanks to Encounter AI

Photo Credit: Blacks in Technology

A.I. is “coming to a drive thru near you” and these guys are responsible Derrick Johnson and Kabah Conda.

"You mean, like the Robots from IRobot will be in Chipotle soon?"

Not quite.

Encounter A.I. aims to improve restaurant chains that are struggling with customer and employee satisfaction as well as costs associated with remaining profitable.

What is A.I.?

A.I. or Artificial Intelligence is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.

Artificial Intelligence is designed for:

  • Speech recognition

  • Learning

  • Planning

  • Problem Solving

Think “Alexa” or “Siri”. Its artificial intelligence referred to by a different name.

"Why would a restaurant need its own version of Alexa?

Encounter A.I's product is a powerful, effective technology investment.

Let's paint the scenario for you:

The restaurant industry while profitable, certainly has its challenges which includes:

  • Food inflation

  • Labor costs

  • Staff turnover

  • Changes in local labor law

What this all means is that the current food service industry’s landscape is ever-changing. Giant restaurant chains are “feeling the heat”, including the likes of McDonald’s. In 2003, McDonald’s added new items to their menu, as a growth strategy. The changes led to a 63% increase in shares from 2008-2011. That decision however, came with several issues. The new menu affected drive-thru times leaving customers frustrated with wait times which impacted customer service.

Another issue, McDonald’s 1 minute drive thru policy of “fast service or free food”, left both employees and customers upset. Too many items slowed down the drive thru which impacted the employee’s service level requirements.

Recently, McDonald’s reduced their menu, in hopes of improving both employee and customer satisfaction.

Technological investments can help reduce a variety of restaurant chains’ challenges including service.

Meet “Mai”

Mai” is Encounter’s AI ordering assistant. Mai is an artificial intelligence assistant designed specifically for restaurants and retail. Mai helps to improve service and speed, by translating orders effectively and accurately. For restaurant’s like McDonald’s who have service issues, Mai can assist with speed and accuracy at the drive thru improving inefficiencies including effectively communicating between employees and customers as well as reducing ordering errors.

Mai can also assist with identifying target customers, enabling your sales to create brand specific campaigns. The software compiles customer data which allows companies to re-target customers, upsell items, create new products and services.

Encounter is currently pilot testing the company’s product with 3 of the top 20 drive thru restaurants in Chicago.

“AI will take jobs”

Actually it will open doors to AI related jobs, from creating the software, coding, to maintenance of the technology. Think of it this way, as a franchisee, if food inflation, labor costs, and overhead, is affecting the business’s bottom line, as an owner, I’d have to make a decision on what’s best to sustain my business. At some point AI may reduce the number of employees in restaurants but it still opens doors for folks to transition into a different field.

Follow the Encounter AI team Derrick Johnson and Kabah Conda to learn more about the company, and the latest news. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Encounter AI as well as the fast growing, AI industry. Tweet us or follow our Instagram page. Let’s chat!

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