Artificial Intelligence is simplifying many parts of our lives, including things as mundane as ordering food. AI-based food-ordering chatbots are being used worldwide by restaurant businesses of all scales to revolutionize the way people order food. In this post, we will look at what an AI-based food-ordering chatbot is, the benefits it offers, and the steps needed to develop one with or without dedicated chatbot development services. So, let’s begin with the primary question about the application.
- An AI-based food-ordering chatbot is among the latest trends revolutionizing the restaurant industry.
- AI chatbots for food ordering can leverage NLP to streamline order processing for a greater customer experience.
- The chatbot can also leverage voice command comprehension and facial recognition technologies for a more enhanced CX.
- With AI food ordering chatbot, restaurants can automate various operations and increase sales to multiply net revenues.
What is an AI-based Food-ordering Chatbot?
Any chatbot that enables customers to order food can be called a food-ordering chatbot. The simplest of such chatbots would greet customers and then present them with an interactive menu. The customer can then select items and sides they want to order. Then the chatbot can lead them to the payment page so the order can be processed. However, with an AI-based chatbot, this basic functionality is enhanced to the level where it simulates human conversation to take order in a more humanistic manner.
This kind of functionality can be deployed over any messaging app, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other popular chat platforms. These bots allow customers to order food from restaurants, select delivery options and even get personalized recommendations for meals. Some AI-based food-ordering chatbots can also provide nutritional information about menu items and help customers find restaurants based on their preferences.
These AI-based food-ordering chatbots make it easy for customers to order food without having to use a website or a mobile app. All they have to do is type in their order, and the chatbot will understand it and provide the customer with a response. When interacting with such chatbots, the customers need not use preset language as the former can understand complex questions, detect sentiment and respond to the latter with relevant information. In addition to taking orders, these AI chatbots can also provide customers with suggestions based on their previous orders, which makes ordering food a lot easier and faster.
Benefits of Developing a Custom AI-based Food-ordering Chatbot
While all chatbots have similar functionality, when you invest in developing a custom AI chatbot for food ordering, you get higher levels of customization. You can have this chatbot programmed to answer customer questions, provide custom recommendations, and even suggest menu items based on customer preferences. This can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers will be able to access the information specific to your brand. Additionally, the custom-built chatbot can also be integrated more seamlessly into your existing digital infrastructure to streamline order processing, which can help to reduce costs.
Reduced Operational Costs
AI chatbots in all industries and use cases, including that for food ordering, can automate customer service. This can drastically reduce operational costs by eliminating the need for hiring a customer service representative, increasing efficiency, and reducing overhead costs.
Just like AI chatbots for any vertical and business offering, the AI chatbot for food ordering also increases the business availability for customers, allowing the former to remain operational 24*7 without having to spend on different shift staff. This also offers customers the convenience of ordering food at any time of the day or night.
Also Read: Top 10 AI-based Chatbots for your Business
AI chatbots should be able to provide a personalized experience to customers by remembering their past orders and preferences. This will enable customers to quickly place orders through the chatbot and receive recommendations for new menu items.
Increased Customer Engagement
A food-ordering chatbot can engage customers more efficiently than a human representative by providing instant responses and personalized recommendations. This can result in higher customer satisfaction and improved loyalty.
Leveraging the above-mentioned benefits of customer personalization and increased engagement, brands can easily increase sales of their brand. They can cross-sell and up-sell more items and, at the same time, improve operational efficiency by helping customers find the right product or order more quickly and offering discounts.
Improved Customer Data Collection
A custom-built AI-based food-ordering chatbot can help collect relevant customer data to gain insights about customer preferences, purchase history, and more. This data can be used to develop targeted marketing campaigns and improve customer service.
Features of an AI-based Chatbot for Food Ordering
Powered by AI and natural language processing (NLP), the AI food-ordering chatbot is equipped with a range of features that make it easy and convenient for customers to place orders and track their orders and for businesses to enhance their services.
AI chatbots will quickly generate a menu for customers to choose from, saving time and effort. It can provide customers with a list of popular dishes, daily specials, or unique items that are available to order. Customers can select their desired items, specify any dietary restrictions or customizations, and submit their orders. The chatbot will then confirm the order and provide an estimated time of arrival.
The AI-based food-ordering chatbots use notifications to provide customers with updates about their orders. This could include order statuses like when the order is received when it is being prepared, is ready for pickup or delivery, and when it gets completed. The notifications could also include reminders about upcoming orders, order confirmations, and special offers.
This feature streamlines the entire ordering process by first facilitating customers quickly find the food they want and place their order with the restaurant. It can then streamline data collection to identify customer preferences and offer recommended dishes. It can also provide customers with up-to-date information, such as menu items and prices, saving them time from flipping through the menu pages.
The AI-based food ordering chatbot must feature a secure payment system that allows customers to securely pay for their orders with their preferred payment method. This can include payment options like credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, and digital currencies. The chatbot should also be able to keep track of customers’ payment history, including successful and failed payments so that customers can easily track their food-related expenses and maintain their trust in this latest offering.
Discounts & Offers
The chatbot, powered with AI, can easily identify customers who frequently order food from certain restaurants. This information can be used by the brands to automate their discount offerings by maintaining a sales volume and profit margin trade-off. They can also use behavioral data to offer customers personalized promotions tailored to their preferences and seasonal trends.
The AI food ordering chatbot can track the progress of an order from the time it is placed to the time it is delivered. It can also provide updates about the status of the order and notify customers when their order has been delivered. In short, it must facilitate customers to track their order status easily.
How to Build an AI-based Food Ordering Chatbot?
Building an AI-based food-ordering chatbot is not an easy task if you do not possess the required technical skills. There are many conversational AI tools available online in the market that make the job easier. However, even to use these tools, you will need some training or external support. As such, you may instead want to hire a retail software development service to get the chatbot developed and ready for use. In all, you have two options when it comes to AI-based food-ordering chatbot development.
Develop AI Food Ordering Chatbot Yourself
If you have the necessary expertise to carry out the development process independently, then you may choose to build it yourself. Here’s a sophisticated approach you can adopt to start building your AI-based food-ordering chatbot.
Create a Clean Database
To begin the chatbot development and training, you will need to create a database of menu items from which the chatbot can draw relevant responses. You will also need to update this database regularly with new items and pricing information.
Design the Flow
Next, you can design the conversation flow to help decide the chatbot the conversation flow with customers who want to order food. This stage will determine how your customers will interact with the chatbot and how the chatbot should respond to their queries. This will include complex flows like at what stage can customers cancel or edit their order, or when shall they be asked to make a payment for their order.
Choose a Platform
Since there are so many messenger apps available that your target audience may already be using, you can consider deploying your chatbot on one or all of them. This stage will decide the various ways your target customers can reach your AI food-ordering chatbot and the technologies you will need to develop the chatbot. Some popular platforms include Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Telegram. You can also choose to deploy your chatbot only on your brand website.
Natural Language Processing
Once you have decided on which platform you want your AI-based food-ordering chatbot to function, you can evaluate your tech stack for the front-end and integration requirements. But regardless of these technologies, you will need a strong implementation for natural language processing to allow the chatbot to understand customer requests and respond accordingly. This is done by creating flows and responses for every intent and training the algorithm with different variations of the question to understand the intent.
Test and Deploy the Chatbot
Once you have trained the AI chatbot on how to curate the right response for every intent and variations in questions to understand the right intent, you can finally test it with various ways of ordering food online. For this purpose, you can hire QA engineers who can automate the task for you. This is an important stage, especially if you are also accepting payments through the chatbot. Regardless, when you have sufficiently tested your chatbot, you can deploy it to your chosen platform. This will involve setting up webhooks and APIs to ensure that orders are processed efficiently.
Hire a Technical Expertise to Build AI Chatbot for Food Ordering
If you are not as tech-savvy or do not want to indulge in the technical aspect of chatbot building, you can hire technical expertise to do this job for you. One way to do so is by hiring an in-house team of AI developers. However, this approach is only feasible if you want to build a business based on your AI-based food-ordering chatbot only. In such a case, you will need to keep your chatbot updated to meet the changing demands in the market. Moreover, you may want to sell this chatbot to various brands which need constant customization.
However, in case you’re a restaurant owner looking to invest in a custom solution for once, hiring AI development services from a reliable company with experience in the food industry is the ideal option for you. For such a product, you may need the expertise of the following roles-
A project manager will help you keep a tight check on the development progress. They can help in defining and reaching the right deadlines, budgeting, and implementing the chatbot. They can do so by leveraging their experience in establishing milestones and coordinating with stakeholders.
A software engineer is needed to develop and maintain the AI food-ordering chatbot. They will be responsible for designing, coding, testing, and deploying the bot.
An AI/ML developer will create and implement the NLP algorithms that empower the AI food ordering chatbot to understand a human conversation and process orders. They will be responsible for designing and training the models, as well as integrating them into the chatbot.
To make the chatbot user-friendly and easy to use, you will need the assistance of a UI/UX expert. They will use their expertise to create user flows, craft the interactions between a user and the bot, and design the visuals for an engaging experience.
A QA engineer is needed to ensure the AI-based food-ordering chatbot is working correctly. As mentioned above, they will ensure that the chatbot is functioning as expected of it. This is important to maintain user trust since the chatbot would be using their payment information to process an order. Thus, apart from testing the NLP functionalities, the QA engineer will also be responsible for performing integration testing.
Advanced AI Enhancements for Food-ordering Chatbots
Accepting, processing, and sending order status notifications are the most basic functionalities of an AI-based food-ordering chatbot. While these applications are quite advanced, they are not using the technology to its full potential. A lot of the data captured by such chatbots goes to waste when it could have enhanced the business decisions for the brand through data analytics. Similarly, by employing more advanced AI applications like facial and voice recognition, the customer experience can be further enhanced. Here are some other progressive use cases of AI to empower your food-ordering chatbot to gain that competitive edge.
AI food-ordering chatbots collect a huge amount of data like past purchases, preferences, and ordering history while accepting order requests from customers. This data can then can be used to empower recommendation engines for a more personalized experience. The information thus generated by these engines can be sent back to AI chatbots which can make personalized product recommendations that match the customer’s tastes, buying habits, and dietary restrictions.
An AI-based food ordering chatbot, powered with NLP capabilities, can understand and respond to natural language commands from humans. This allows customers to order food with their voices. It can also be integrated with voice assistant technologies such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. This will further simplify for customers to place their orders with simple commands like “I’d like to order pizza from Papa John’s.” The chatbot will then simply ask to confirm the order and use their preset payment methods to place the order. Such simplicity will help brands increase customer loyalty and eliminate competition.
An AI food-ordering chatbot, empowered with facial recognition technology, can be used to create personalized kiosks for a restaurant with self-service offerings. These chatbots can ask to analyze customer preferences in food items and payment methods, dietary restrictions, and other factors. After a customer has placed multiple orders with the chatbot, it can start recognizing their buying patterns and then create a personalized experience for them by shortlisting the items they would be most interested in. The customer can then quickly order their food, pay for it, and receive their order in a timely manner.
By utilizing the capabilities of AI in your food ordering chatbot and integrating it with a cloud-based staff scheduling software, you can easily get a bird’s-eye view of your staff requirement. This will help you in real-time as well as in the long run in deciding the right schedule for the right kind of people to manage the workflow seamlessly. For example, if you see a sudden spike in user counts on your food-ordering chatbot, you can prep your culinary team to handle the pressure. You can also see which food items have higher demand so your chef can deploy specialized sous-chefs for the bigger orders. The cumulative insights from such incidents can help you prepare better for the future.
A food ordering chatbot powered with AI can help in sales prediction by collecting data on customer orders and analyzing it to identify trends in purchase behavior. The chatbot can combine this data with cyclical data like weather forecasts, public and business events, etc. This data can then be used to predict future sales and restaurant foot traffic. Restaurant owners can also derive other meaningful insights from this data, including the level of stock needed, the number of staff required, the right pricing strategy, etc.
Delivery Route Optimization
If you want to enhance the food delivery process, automating route optimization through the details captured by your food-ordering chatbots is one of the most efficient ways to achieve this. All the real-time data collected by the chatbot can be collated in a central repository. You can use this to scan the complete list of addresses to service and then automate the route optimization. This will take into account the distance between different delivery locations, road conditions, and real-time traffic to make sure you’re always choosing the quickest route.
Creating an AI-based food ordering chatbot can be a great way to automate the ordering process and enhance operational efficiency for an online food delivery enterprise. These chatbots can quickly and accurately process orders, freeing up time for restaurant staff to focus on other tasks. Not only that, with advanced applications like facial recognition, voice command comprehension, and personalized recommendations, these chatbots can quickly eliminate competition for the restaurant brand by offering customers state-of-the-art ways to place their food orders. If you’re ready to leverage these latest advancements in the field of the food industry, all you need is the right consultation to begin your journey. Simply fill out this form with your ideas and requirements, and our experts will reach out to you to understand your requirements better. They will then create a development plan and free quote for your AI food ordering chatbot project with no strings attached, so you can start upgrading your restaurant services with no hassle at all.