ConverseNow Embeds ChatGPT and Google Bard Generative AI LLMs Into Restaurant Voice Assistant
Restaurant AI developer ConverseNow has augmented its voice assistant conversational generative AI models. The new virtual ordering assistant employs the large language models (LLMs) behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard chatbots to better handle complex natural dialogue and improve order accuracy.
ConverseNow ChatGPT Bard
ConverseNow customizes voice assistants for restaurants to use on the phone or drive-thrus. The ConverseNow voice models, code-named George and Becky, have been built to understand emotional nuance as well as language in taking orders. They’ve already been offering recommendations based on time of day, weather, and personal order history. Incorporating generative AI models is aimed at boosting all of its capabilities. ConverseNow plans to use ChatGPT and Bard to train its own models so that they can better predict how the conversation with customers will go. That will help it mimic human dialogue and adapt to any questions, problems, or customization requests from customers placing orders.
ConverseNow claims its platform handles more than a million guests every month already and leverages proprietary data to keep the AI up-to-date and regularly upgrades the models. The company sees generative AI as a way of enhancing its position in the market as it begins rolling out the upgraded assistant to nearly 2,000 stores in the U.S.
“This is the future of restaurants. In this union of hospitality and technology, we’ve leveraged generative AI to create the ideal virtual assistant. (S)he recognizes and fixes problems before they take place, personalizes the guest experience, supports store staff, and drives order counts to unprecedented levels,” ConverseNow CEO Vinay Shukla said. “We’re already processing more information than any restaurant voice AI platform out there, and our newest generation of virtual assistants has further widened the performance gap by evolving at breakneck speed.”
Voice AI has rapidly become mainstream in restaurant operations, as with Panera Bread adding OpenCity’s voice AI to its drive-thru lanes around Rochester, NY. Phone integration is seeing a spike at chains like Marcos Pizza, and will likely accelerate thanks to SoundHound’s deal with Square to add its phone-based voice assistant for restaurants with Square’s popular payment service. The divide between corporate and franchise stores is also becoming a theme as Checkers struck deals with both Valyant AI and Presto to embed a drive-thru voice assistant at its franchises and corporate-owned locations, respectively, with Presto soon planning to go public on the stock market through a SPAC merger. The bigger names in hospitality aren’t ignoring voice, either. McDonald’s has widened its pilot testing of a voice assistant after selling McD Tech Labs to IBM and beginning a collaboration to develop an automated drive-thru service late last year.
There’s a lot of demand for restaurant conversational AI assistants. ConverseNow has raised nearly $30 million, including $30 million from investors. Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. made a three-way deal with restaurant voice AI developers OpenCity, Presto Automation, and Valyant AI to bring their respective voice assistants to its drive-thrus, with Presto testing out ChatGPT all the way back in March. Meanwhile, SoundHound recently deployed its voice AI to an expanded list of White Castle drive-thrus, while Wendy’s is trying out a pilot program with Google Cloud to install a generative AI-powered voice assistant to take drive-thru orders in a summer pilot program.