HungerRush (formerly known as Revention) offer s a full suite of restaurant management software. In June of this year, the company launched a number of new features geared towards helping restaurants fulfill off-premises orders like delivery and takeout. Those new features included messaging capabilities for curbside pickup, the ability to track delivery drivers, and more integrations with third-party delivery services.
With the OrdrAI acquisition, HungerRush will offer text-to-order capabilities to its toolkit. The OrdrAI system uses standard SMS and natural language processing to allow customers to order meals almost as if they were texting with a friend. The benefit of text-to-order is that SMS is a ubiquitous feature on just about every phone, so there is no new app or website that a customer needs to install or visit to place an order.
With the pandemic continuing unabated throughout most of the country, restaurants have had to shift from dine-in operations to prioritize off-premises ordering, takeout and delivery. So it makes sense that HungerRush would want to add a tool like text-to-order to its arsenal. As restaurants move towards digital orders, they want to make placing those digital orders as easy as possible for anyone.
But OrdrAi is also part of a broader movement in the restaurant biz towards adding natural language processing and conversational ordering to their tech stack. Last month Kea raised $10 million for its natural language voice assistant that can take orders for restaurants. Google’s Duplex AI assistant can place restaurant reservations on behalf of real people. And Clinc’s tech brings conversational ordering to the drive-thru.
In the U.S., text-to-order capabilities get far less airtime than sophisticated mobile apps (though ordering via SMS is common in other parts of the world). But as mentioned above, the pandemic has forced both restaurants and their customers into digital ordering, and not every customer can or wants to download a fancy mobile app to place an order for fries. Having a simpler, more ubiquitous interface available could widen a restaurant’s potential customer base at a time when finding new ways for digital outreach is paramount. Text-to-order might never replace the mobile app, but as the industry continues to navigate its current fallout, the function is another useful tool to complement the restaurant tech stack.
Jennifer Marston contributed to this article.