We’ve talked about AI coming to the drive-thru for some time now, and in Denver, CO, one company is finally making that happen. Valyant AI, a CO-based AI company, has set up shop at the Good Times Burger & Frozen Custard restaurant, and its AI platform is taking breakfast orders at the drive-thru.
Valyant AI’s “digital customer service representatives” aren’t all-purpose AI assistants — the company actually built the platform for the quick-service restaurant industry’s many drive-thrus. The patent-pending proprietary platform integrates directly into a restaurant’s drive-thru hardware as well as its POS system.
Better accuracy is something Valyant AI promotes heavily. According to a recent press release, the company, founded in 2017, built and taught the platform using real customer recordings from drive-thrus. And since the system was designed from the ground up for QSRs, it has a significantly smaller range of questions to contend with than a Google Assistant or Alexa. In theory, at least, that should make for more accuracy. The technology also uses the human-in-the-loop model, which is a type of AI that employs both machine and human intelligence to create learning models. So if the system can’t answer a question or fulfill a bizarre order, a human employee can intervene.
More and more, restaurant industry people are calling voice-order tech the next big thing, projecting an explosion of devices and platforms coming to market over the next year or so.
Valyant AI isn’t the first company to try serving up voice control for the drive-thru. Most notably, Clinc, who started out in the financial services sector, is expanding into the QSR realm. Since Clinc’s platform is built to treat everything it hears as data — rather than having to map back to a dictionary — it could potentially handle some of those complex drive-thru orders without the need for human intervention.
According to Valyant AI’s website, the company spent two years developing its technology. And while it’s still in beta, it seems to have launched just in time to seriously compete: 50 percent of revenue for QSR restaurants comes from the drive-thru, according to a recent study, and order accuracy is the number one concern for fast food restaurants in this area.
If Valyant AI’s Denver breakfast run is successful, we’ll probably be holding a lot more conversations with machines when it comes to the drive-thru, at breakfast and beyond.