July's Featured Author: Steve Bigari, CEO, SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions
Steve participated in the 2016 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, and the 2017 International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York where he spoke on a technology panel with fellow industry experts, including executives from Papa John's, Olo and Interactions. He will be presenting "What Guests Want: New Artificial Intelligence Reveals All" at the 2017 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show.
Adapting Your Restaurant for an AI- and Automation-Loving Society
From smartphones with automated-speech-recognition technology to smart-home systems that can turn on lights and order pizza, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an expected convenience and tool in consumers’ lives today. To succeed in the changing market, restaurants have to start rethinking and reshaping their operations to provide a greater level of convenience, with or without the help of new technology. And, that starts with knowing what guests want most in restaurant interactions.
In a recent AI study performed by SYNQ3, our advanced AI technology, VIA (Virtual Intelligent Assistant), identified actionable solutions for enhancing the guest experience while increasing restaurant sales. For the study, VIA monitored calls across multiple brands, including P.F. Chang’s, tracking the caller’s and receiver’s tone of voice, vocal stress, language, timeliness of responses, emotions and more. VIA then correlated that data with customer experience, engagement, handle time, call abandonment, average check, and order-to-call ratios to identify strategies for restaurants to best serve guests, boost profits and succeed in the Restaurant 3.0 world.
Three significant strategies surfaced for restaurants:
1. Restaurants need to provide more consistent, positive engagement.
To provide the optimal guest experience during take-out orders, restaurants have to identify and implement means for increasing consistency and efficiency in how they engage with their guests. By centralizing the order-taking process, restaurants can provide more focused, effective and enjoyable guest interactions.
2. Guest-specific data can greatly increase the guests' experience and overall guest-to-restaurant relationship.
According to the study, using dedicated order-takers and guest-specific data equated to a more positive customer experience by 11.4 percent.
When a guest calls for a take-out order, and SYNQ3’s guest-data system recalls their name, preferences, favorite order, food allergens, and other specifics, the order-taker can provide an efficient, guest-centered interaction. And, according to the study, guests like ordering with someone who knows what they want and how they want it.
3. Outsourcing, restaurant technology and guest-specific data lead to greater profit margins in take-out orders.
In the study, restaurants experienced significantly better order-to-call ratios, a 6.4 percent increase in sales, plus decreased call abandonment and increased average check, when using dedicated order-takers and guest data. With the data, the call center was able to greet callers by name; offer options based on noted preferences; direct the conversation based on tone and prior ordering history; upsell; and, ultimately, close more sales with an increased average check.
Artificial intelligence is set to transform the industry. From automation to geolocation, there are many opportunities to wow your guests with new technology that will make their ordering experience exactly how they want it: convenient and efficient. If your restaurant is not yet able to implement new technology to help you create this guest experience, find other ways to increase consumer convenience. Maybe you could have one employee who only monitors the phones, or performs smaller tasks with call-in, order-taking as their number one role. Even if you can only make small changes at this time, it’s important to show your guests that you recognize their preferences and needs, and will adapt accordingly.
Remember, a guest-first mentality is the key to success in whatever the future holds for the restaurant industry.
Find SYNQ3 online at www.synq3.com.
More about Steve:
Steve Bigari, founder and CEO of SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions, is an industry leader for disruptive innovation in restaurant technology. Steve’s innovative spark led to the development of three significant restaurant-industry patents, his induction into the Ashoka Fellows, and a ranking in the top five percent of restaurant consultants for the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG). For 20 years, Steve worked as McDonald’s Innovation Chairman and as an Operations Leader, aiding the company in massive technological and process advancements that led to 141 months of positive comparable sales. In 2016 and 2017, Steve led SYNQ3 in the development of a new artificial-intelligence, automated-speech-recognition technology, VIA (Virtual Intelligent Assistant), which is set to transform ordering operations for restaurants throughout the industry.