Largest AI rollout with Checkers Franchise

Fast food giant Checkers and tech partner Presto are in a new partnership to bring in AI voice ordering to 267 company-operated Checkers’ locations. The largest AI rollout between the Checkers franchise and Presto is tested across the drive-thru space.

Checkers CEO Frances Allen said there were two big reasons the company committed to such a mass rollout: the upsell potential and, of course, staffing. Upselling is hard, no matter how many incentives or gold stars a company doles out—it’s always a slog to get busy employees to suggest customers trade up or add items to their order.

“You’re doing three things at once, taking the order, thinking about what else you could upsell and at the same time expediting for the car in front of you. I mean I’m a multitasker, and I couldn’t do it,” said Allen. “Ninety percent of the time, our humans are too busy, too stressed to get that upselling done properly.”

With the AI, however, she saw a 20 percent success rate with upselling. “That’s the revenue,” she said.

Apart from avoiding burn out, it is also about finding the balance due to staff shortages. “In an ideal world, we need five employees; in reality we have three,” she added. “It’s just a different way to think about productivity, it’s not like we’re removing labor but finding ways to fill gaps.”

“There is so much cognitive overhead. If you can take away a part of that chaos and make that easier, A, you’ll have a happier employee with less chances to fail and, B, you can simplify operations and execute your goals better,” said Presto CEO Rajat Suri.

Though the system is built to handle complex and awkward phrasing, if there is a fail over then the order just goes to the restaurant staff, who are listening in anyway.

“Ninety-eight percent of orders are handled by the system without being escalated to the person,” said Suri. The remaining two percent of orders “will escalate to the human in the restaurant, who are listening in. It’s pretty easy for the human to take over as needed.”

The rollout is moving quickly. Allen said they are “moving as fast as possible,” adding about one corporate location a week. By the end of December 2022, she hopes to have all company-operated locations plugged in. Allen said Checkers franchisees are clamoring for the tool as well.

Source: Franchise Times

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