10 Minutes On Voice Assistants for Restaurants with SoundHound’s James Hom
The restaurant industry is facing an unprecedented labor shortage. “The rebuilding of the restaurant and foodservice workforce is being hampered by the most severe labor shortage on record … As of April 2022, eating and drinking places [in the U.S.] were still 794,000 jobs – or 6.4% – below their pre-pandemic employment levels,” according to the National Restaurant Association.
Taking on Jobs that Go Unfilled
While developers of custom voice assistants for the enterprise have often stressed efficiency and customer satisfaction benefits in the past, they are now highlighting the ability to automate tasks that restaurants simply don’t have enough humans to fulfill. Voice assistants are taking on this challenge in the drive-thru lanes and by answering the phone.
James Hom, a co-founder of SoundHound, says that many restaurants never properly staff phone-in order taking. “By enabling us to answer the phone, we can put the order directly into the system. We’ve always had this vision that speaking to your devices is the most natural way to interact … and we realized that the technology we’ve built allowed us to handle the complexity we need for food ordering,” commented Hom.
He added, “We were able to find some great partners like MasterCard and White Castle to power their drive-thru food ordering experiences. That is a dream scenario where it frees up their staff to work on other challenges like food preparation and customer service… We can [also] take over the phone line…The last thing restaurants want during the lunch rush is to have to answer the phone, explain the menu, and call out what the different options are. So, they have this dilemma of ‘Do I deal with this customer in the store or do I talk on the phone for 10 minutes.'”
More About 10 Minutes On Interview Series
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