In 2020, with the Coronavirus pandemic, staying indoors was necessary to limit the spread and effects of the pandemic. While at face value it looked detrimental, the need to remain indoors gave rise to a rapid acceleration in online businesses and a change in behaviors. Zoom, Tik-Tok, Netflix, Amazon, and Uber Eats are just a few of the many companies that benefited during the pandemic. Restaurants, however, were hit the hardest with in-room dining struggling to return. Those restaurants that adapt and embrace new technologies will be the first to return to a thriving state and fair better moving forward than ever before.
Can Voice Assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, help restaurant owners deliver better service and create happier patrons? Let's have a look...
How restaurants survived the Coronavirus Pandemic
Unfortunately, many restaurants had to close down during the pandemic, and some never reopened. However, many of those who made it through did so by shifting to a contactless delivery model. Uber Eats, a food delivery service that assisted restaurants with this shift, grew its revenues by 124% from July through to September compared to the same period last year.
More people using voice assistants
The use of voice assistants has increased every year. The pandemic, however, caused a rapid acceleration in the use of voice assistants. 52% of voice assistant users said they used voice tech several times a day or nearly every day, compared to 46% before the outbreak. According to Forbes, Alphameric estimated that 50% of all searches in 2020 were voice-activated.
How using voice assistants could help your restaurant
The pandemic has shifted behaviors, and while things are trying to open up more, certain aspects, like ordering online and communicating with voice assistants, will continue to progress. The use of voice assistants as an integral part of contactless delivery as well as a one-interface for everything technology has been enhanced by the pandemic, and this is a behavior that will foster innovation and accommodation for years to come.
You operate a fine dining restaurant, which is a very competitive industry with small margins. Every extra sale is important. Imagine if you could receive an influx of customer orders through Alexa? Customers could ask what is on your menu and order, either for pickup or for dining in, meaning their food would be ready and a table reserved by when they arrive. They could pay right at the order transaction with a saved credit card. If the customer runs into traffic the voice assistant could give the restaurant frequent updates on how long it will take for the customer to arrive. The customer would benefit as the waiting time to be served will be decreased. The restaurant would benefit because they would have less congestion at the restaurant and fewer dissatisfied customers and a much faster rate of turnover.
Saves customers the hassle
For many people talking to someone on the phone can be a tedious experience. Even if you have an app where customers can order take-out, it can at times be confusing. The reality is that ordering anything using your voice will always be easier and more natural, even food. Let’s say an individual is at work and wants to order food from your restaurant; they would have to call in to order and then tell the individual where they want it delivered. The process can be tiring compared to simply saying, “Alexa, order my usual from Island Grill,” Alexa has your saved ‘my favorite’ order from that restaurant, and it takes care of both delivery and payment.
Saves you money
Automation and the efficiencies gained are being realized across every industry. Having either Alexa or Google Assistant handle orders can potentially save restaurants money in the form of resourcing efficiency, more accurate scheduling based on algorithms that identify busier times as well as turnover calculations, and improve order identification and accuracy.
Customers get a personalized experience.
A marketing study showed that 80% of respondents are more likely to do business with a company that offers a personalized experience. By using either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you will gain the ability to give a personalized experience to your customers. Customers using one of these voice assistants to order could receive recommendations based on their last meal, most ordered meal, or stay away from what may cause an allergic reaction. This impact to marketing and service would create a far more personalized experience because of the ease, convenience, and the feeling of importance it provides.
As we have seen during the pandemic, staying ahead of trends or at the very least being able to adjust quickly is beneficial to your business. Some restaurants failed because they found it difficult to switch to online orders quickly. Using either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant will not only make your business stand out, it may also reduce costs, save time and potentially create a more loyal customer-base. The use of voice assistants in the restaurant industry is already having an impact, and industry trends do not show this slowing down.