SoundHound and Samsung

At White Castle, the fast food hamburger business that popularized the “slider” in 1921, artificial intelligence is soon to be introduced to more than 100 drive-through lanes.

The initiative will use digital signs from Samsung Electronics America and SoundHound’s patented speech AI technology, the business revealed on Tuesday, to provide a cutting-edge customer ordering experience.

White Castle Vice President of Operations Services Mike Guinan stated in a statement: “With White Castle cravers everywhere hungry for our hot and tasty menu options, we are investing in processing orders at the drive-thru even more swiftly.”

Customers adore the engaging ordering experience we were able to build by collaborating with tech pioneers at SoundHound and Samsung, he added. “It’s the blueprint for tomorrow today, and proof of how helpful technology and fantastic partners can change the game.”

After a successful test in 2020, White Castle, which has roughly 350 locations nationwide, revealed its plans to introduce SoundHound to 100 of its drive-thrus in August. However, Samsung will now add a visual element to the project.

James Hom, co-founder of SoundHound and its chief product officer, said in a statement, “By combining our in-depth knowledge of speech AI with Samsung’s MagicINFO display technology, we’ve created a first-class interactive experience for White Castle’s drive-thru customers.

“We look forward to finding new opportunities to partner in order to unlock the power of digital outdoor signage and turn menus into interactive restaurant portals with almost limitless possibilities,” he continued.

Interactive, Dynamic Menus

Such gateways might put an end to boring, unchanging menus. According to Mike Lauricella, Head of Channel Partnerships at SoundHound, “the menu will become more dynamic.”

“With voice AI, you might be able to pull up to a drive-thru display and ask for only gluten-free items, all the special deals of the day, or what’s the best value for $10?” he said. “The menu portal would be more under your control.”

“With MagicINFO, Samsung is helping transform menu boards from simple, static displays to personalized, easy-to-navigate experiences for the customer that also deliver business benefits to the restaurant,” said James Fishler, senior vice president of the company’s Display & Home Entertainment Division.

“By integrating SoundHound’s AI-driven voice technology, we’re providing an extraordinary experience for White Castle customers when it comes to enjoying what they love,” he added. “This is only the start of a relationship that will advance their brand to the forefront of customer experiences driven by innovation,” says the statement.

Staff who are happier

White Castle intends to utilize the potential advantages that the technology may offer to its restaurant operations by implementing a voice AI ordering system. White Castle, for instance, said that the AI-enabled system processed orders in less than 60 seconds, with order fulfillment rates of 90% that surpassed earlier staff-based benchmarks.

“An AI-enabled drive-thru adds a higher level of efficiency, a higher level of order accuracy,” said Lauricella. It enables the employees to concentrate on the clients while consistently producing excellent meals.

He continued, “We always hear from the White Castle stores where we use our methods that the crew is more productive. “They’re also happier. Since hiring is difficult, the more pleasurable you can make your team members’ daily tasks, the longer you’ll be able to retain them. White Castle places a strong focus on that.

According to Bob Bilbruck, CEO of Captjur, an Irvine, California-based supplier of strategy, consultancy, digital, technology development, and channel programs, AI systems are effective since orders are entered directly into the system.

“You don’t have input errors or other things,” he said to FluidGeek. The only time there is a problem is when an order needs to be changed, but the systems are also getting better at that.

He continued by saying that AI is driving down operating expenses and margins in the quick-service restaurant sector. “In fast food, that’s everything right now,” he declared. “Margins are so low because food must be cheap to differentiate it from rival products,”

Positive ROI

A chain may also receive real-time business intelligence via an AI system. The system, for instance, can link orders to current marketing initiatives or limited-time deals.

Without AI, “that can be done, but you lose the real-time element,” Lauricella admitted. “The process would require more manual labor, and it might not be completed due to the numerous tasks each team member must complete.”

Additionally, according to Bilbruck, integrating AI systems with point-of-sale systems is becoming simpler. “Some POS systems offer SDKs, but all of them offer APIs that allow the AI systems to feed into the POS system,” the man stated.

He clarified that the systems also provide a positive return on investment for the companies that install them. He said that “we’re seeing automation pay for itself within the first year of the investment.” The cost of the systems is actually rather reasonable. Compared to the operational expense of one or two full-time employees, they are incredibly cost-effective.

Many chatbots are currently replacing real people, he continued. “The majority of the time, it’s all automated, but if there’s a problem with an order, they’ll transfer the customer to a human being.”

Many fast food establishments in Southern California are implementing these systems because they are more affordable than employing staff, he said.

Employees Feel More Human

According to Bilbruck, the majority of automated systems being built nowadays are AI-enabled. The interesting thing about that, he said, is that over time they become more knowledgeable about consumer inquiries and the subtleties of orders. “They’re well trained enough to not have any issues or problems within a year.”

Although it has been widely reported that AI is costing employment to workers, Lauricella insisted that this has not been the case at White Castle. He claimed that they had not in any way decreased employment. “A help wanted notice will be visible if you visit any White Castle today. Hiring continues to be quite difficult.

Some people are worried that growing automation may eliminate the human touch from the restaurant industry.

“I asked a White Castle team member that question,” Lauricella recounted. ‘Before, I’d be on the headset,’ she added. I’d be fiddling with the objects. I would be conversing with customers in the store and in the drive-through. I can now take one action. I can offer my complete attention to the individual I’m engaging with, whether it’s a team member or a consumer. After all is said and done, this enables me to be more human.