Over the last six months, we’ve watched as seemingly every quick-service restaurant chain jumped on the AI freight train, integrating new generative AI technology into apps, chatbots, and voice ordering tools to expedite the customer experience.
Now, it looks like food-ordering platforms DoorDash and Uber Eats are taking their turn to roll out AI tools.
This week we learned of DoorDash’s AI-powered voice ordering, which the company is rolling out as part of its merchant solutions portfolio. At first available in select markets, the new AI voice agents will be the first point of contact for restaurants leveraging DoorDash’s white-label voice-order platform. The company says AI voice ordering can take orders in different languages.
The AI will be trained on each operator’s menu and make personalized upsell recommendations. DoorDash makes clear that live human agents will be standing by to jump in if additional support is needed.
And, courtesy of Bloomberg, we also learned this week that Uber Eats is working on a new AI-powered chatbot for its food-ordering app. Techcrunch writes the new AI chatbot will ask users about food budgets and preferences and help them place an order. The Uber Eats AI chatbot news comes a month after DoorDash confirmed it is also working on an AI chatbot.
The news of AI-powered tools by the two delivery giants comes after a string of AI rollouts on the quick service front. This spring, Wendy’s announced it was working with Google to develop an AI for its drive-thru called FreshAI, and early this month, White Castle announced it was working with SoundHound to develop a drive-thru AI.
As I mentioned in my writeup of the food AI workshop ethics workshop, one of the first areas I expect to see AI and automation impact food is on the front lines of quick service. The historically low pay and high turnover for these jobs make them low-hanging fruit when it comes to AI tool integration, particularly for order taking, which is often the biggest bottleneck and the most easily automated part of the entire food purchase process.