Restaurant chatbots can be a smart investment for restaurant chains since they provide:
- 7/24 customer engagement
- Workforce augmentation
- Scalable marketing capabilities
- Providing standardized services
- Collecting customer feedback
Despite their benefits, many chain restaurant owners and managers are unaware of restaurant chatbots. This article aims to close the information gap by providing use cases, case studies and best practices regarding chatbots for restaurants.
8 restaurant chatbots
|Free Plan / Trial
|Salesforce Service Cloud
-Input data from various sources such as POS systems, applications, and inventory into one centralized location. -Performance analysis -Data visualization
|Basic: €10* (p/mo)
Professional: €17 (p/mo)
Enterprise: €17 (p/mo)
– In-app, event-based chat support -Offline push notification campaigns -Automated delivery orders and reservations
|Tacobot by Taco Bell
-Food order & customization
-Facebook integrated Food order -Estimate delivery time -Re-order previous orders -Answers FAQs
-Save server trips to static POS stations -same device can be used for pay-at-table, staff handheld, kiosk, and line busting applications -Accept all contactless and mobile payments
Do it yourself: $49 with 2 chatbots (p/mo) Done for you: $149 with 5 chatbots (p/mo)
|-Allows restaurants create their own chatbots
-Business: €14.39 for Facebook & Instagram -Enterprise: $300 for Facebook & Instagram
-Builds chatbots especially for Facebook Messenger -Chatbots can recommend menus to customer -Automate order management & answer FAQs
-Integration with Facebook Messenger -Reservation & order management -Answers customer queries
-Integrated with Razor Pay -Interactive Menus -Restaurant performance & analytics -QR-code generation
This table is organized by the company’s number of employees except for sponsors which can be identified with the links in their names. Platforms with 2+ employees that provide chatbot services for restaurants or allow them to produce chatbots are included in the list.
Salesforce is the CRM market leader and Salesforce Contact Genie enables multi-channel live chat supported by AI-driven assistants. Salesforce Contact Center enables workflow automation for customer service operations by leveraging chatbot and conversational AI technologies.
What is a restaurant chatbot?
A restaurant chatbot, also referred to as a restaurant bot, is a conversational AI tool that engages with customers on:
- Mobile apps
- Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
- Social media apps like Instagram
- Website’s chat window and more.
Restaurant chatbots are designed to automate specific responsibilities carried out by human staff, like booking reservations. Chatbots might have a variety of skills depending on the use case they are deployed for.
For example, some chatbots have fully advanced NLP, NLU and machine learning capabilities that enable them to comprehend user intent. As a result, they are able to make particular gastronomic recommendations based on their conversations with clients.
On the other hand, rule-based chatbots with comparatively limited artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities can automate a variety of tasks such as responding to clients’ frequently asked questions (FAQs) or sending out mass notifications about events.
Top 5 restaurant chatbots use cases
Despite the fact that chatbots have a variety of general applications, such as automating customer service, this section only focuses on 5 use cases specific to the restaurant industry (see Figure 3).
1. Take orders
Restaurant bots can take orders from customers, understand their particular needs, and deliver the orders to the kitchen for preparation. Restaurant chatbots can take orders for dine-in, takeaway, and motorcycle courier home delivery (see Figure 4).
- Takeaway services: Customers interact with chatbots on WhatsApp, restaurant websites and social media channels. They provide information regarding the meals they want to eat. Then, chatbots convey the messages to the chefs and determine the pickup time based on how busy the kitchen is.
- Dine-in: Many restaurants switched from paper menus to QR codes after the pandemic. Users can view the restaurant’s menu by scanning the code. On these sites, several restaurants have installed chatbots referred to as waiter bots. To order food or drinks, customers can now interact with waiter bots. As a result, customers no longer need to wait for waiters and bartenders to take their orders.
2. Handle table reservations & cancellations
One of the common applications of restaurant bots is making reservations. They can engage with customers around the clock to provide and collect following information.
- Opening and closing times of the restaurant
- Number of guests
- Reservation time
- Snacks and cocktail preferences for the reservation time
- Location of table
- Purpose of the event (birthday, anniversary etc.)
- Duration of dinner and so on.
This knowledge enables restaurants to plan a top-notch service for guests. For instance, if there will be a birthday celebration, the restaurant can prepare a cake and set the tables appropriately to enhance the customer experience. Chatbots also aid restaurants in controlling client traffic as well.
Customer engagement software like Zoho SalesIQ can help your restaurant connect better with customers. Restaurants can incorporate Zoho SalesIQ into their mobile app using our native mobile SDK to attract customers with messaging; letting them place orders, and contact restaurants when they need help. Sales IQ also offers:
- In-app, event-based chat support: Shows in-app chat feature contextually whenever a user encounters an issue while using the app, such as during a failed payment or when they can’t find what they need.
- Push notification campaigns: Restaurants can stay in touch with users, even when they’re not online, by sending them personalized push notifications automatically.
- Automated delivery orders and reservations: Simplify the process for customers to order food or book a table at your restaurant using chatbots. These chatbots can recommend popular meal combinations as well.
- Answer routine questions: Chatbots can answer routine questions such as “When do you close?”, “What are your specials?” etc. (See Figure 5)
3. Introduce the menu and prices
Customers can learn about menu items and food and drink costs via chatbots. Customers can then decide whether the dishes and prices are appropriate for them (see Figure 6).
The introduction of menus may be a useful application for restaurant regulars. Since they might enjoy seeing menu modifications like the addition of new foods or cocktails.
Figure 6: A chatbot introduces the menu of the restaurant.
4. Recommend dishes and drinks
Restaurant chatbots can recommend customers dishes and drinks to improve customer engagement. There are two main of doing this:
- Rule based recommendations: There is no use of advanced NLP for this kind of recommendation. Instead of NLP-driven intent recognition, chefs identify the foods and beverages that match. Chatbots provide general food and drink recommendations according to this labeling. For instance, a chatbot can suggest red wine as an appropriate beverage if clients prefer a NY steak as their main meal.
- Recommendation via natural language: Advanced NLP skills are needed for this more complex food and beverage recommendations. In this example, a client and a chatbot for a restaurant discuss the customer’s preferences and prior experiences. According to this data, the chatbot proposes certain foods and beverages the client would like. We anticipate that more restaurants will utilize such an application of chatbots in the near future due to advancements in NLP.
5. Send notifications
Chatbots can send notifications to the customers regarding:
- Delivery time of meal
- Reservation and cancellation details
- New meals, beverages and cocktails
- Events and more.
Thus, restaurants can scale up their marketing strategies while keeping customers informed regarding their orders and reservations.
Top 4 restaurant chatbot best practices
We recommend restaurants to pay attention to following restaurant chatbots specific best practices while deploying a chatbot (see Figure 7).
1. Consider deploying it on messaging apps and mobile applications together
Although restaurant executives typically think of restaurant websites as the first place to deploy chatbots, offering users an omnichannel experience can boost customer engagement. In this regard, restaurants can deploy chatbots on their custom mobile apps as well as messaging platforms.
Especially having a messenger bot or WhatsApp bot can be beneficial for restaurants since people are using these platforms for conversation nowadays. For instance, WhatsApp has 2 billion active users as of today. Thus, restaurants can scale their marketing campaigns.
2. Design voice bots
The voice command feature of chatbots used in restaurants ties the growth of voice search in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Businesses that optimize their content for mobile and websites with voice search in mind can gain more visibility while providing users with a better overall experience.
3. Let chatbots send images of your foods and restaurants
Texting with chatbots can be informative for customers. However, seeing the images of the foods and drinks, atmosphere of the restaurant, and the table customers’ will sit can make customers more comfortable regarding their decisions. Therefore, we recommend restaurants to enrich their content with images.
4. Put an end the chat button
Once the query of the customer is resolved it makes sense to end the conversation. When users push the end of the chat button they can direct a very short survey regarding their experience with chatbot. Thus, restaurants can find the main pain points of the chatbot and improve it accordingly.
To learn more regarding chatbot best practices you can read our Top 14 Chatbot Best Practices That Increase Your ROI article.
You can also read our Hospitality Chatbots: Everything You Need to Know to find out more regarding hospitality industry chatbots.
Finally if you have questions about restaurant chatbots you can reach us:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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