White Castle Taps SoundHound for Voice AI at 100+ Drive-Thrus
SoundHound’s voice AI will take food orders at more than 100 White Castle drive-thrus by the end of the year. The rapid deployment of SoundHound’s AI follows a successful pilot at White Castle that started in 2020.
White Castle AI
White Castle customers pulling into the drive-thru will be able to order food, including mid-order changes, then pay for the meal using a customized SoundHound voice assistant. The order is then relayed to the cooks, who prepare and serve it at the window just as always. The accelerated adoption by White Castle follows a report that the initial trial succeeded even better than anticipated. Average ordering time came in at slightly over a minute, but with a 90% order completion rate that surpassed the traditional system.
“White Castle is committed to investing in the best available technology to create welcoming and enjoyable drive-thru experiences for our customers,” White Castle vice president of operations services Mike Guinan said. “Our partnership with SoundHound has allowed us to be first movers in this space and we’re excited to do even more to satisfy cravers everywhere. Working together, we’ll be able to deliver the drive-thru experience of tomorrow today.”
The expanded partnership with White Castle comes only a few months after SoundHound pulled in $100 million in strategic funding. The company has been working on a long-term strategy built on partnerships like White Castle and new tools and features for its restaurant and automotive clients. That includes generative AI and Dynamic Interaction voice AI for business services. SoundHound previously predicted it would reach profitability and raised $25 million in equity financing in January after reducing staff from around 450 to 200 people in two rounds of layoffs. SoundHound’s ambitions for White Castle fit with its overall strategy, and it has some data backing its plan thanks to a recent survey measuring drive-thru customer attitudes toward a voice assistant taking their order. More than 60% of the respondents said they are comfortable with the experience, including a majority of self-described AI skeptics.
“Together, White Castle and SoundHound are uniting great food and great technology to give quick service restaurant customers the most advanced ordering experience available today,” SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer said. “We know that AI is going to be a keystone of the restaurant of the future, and we’re delighted to take another step towards that by bringing our deep AI knowledge to even more locations.”