Fazoli’s, the casual pizza restaurant chain, is testing the ability for customers to use Amazon’s Alexa to order meals.
In an interview with FastCasual, CEO Carl Howard said the restaurant operator is testing it in some locations in partnership with Orderscape, an automation and voice technology software company. Orderscape currently offers automation ordering technology for Amazon’s Alexa, and plans to add Google Assistant and Google Home in the future.
"Our investment was mainly the time of our team to collaborate with Orderscape and some small soft cost," said Howard in the interview. "The ordering availability is only available at select company locations while we work through all of the dynamics of this new technology."
While Howard doesn’t think voice ordering will have much impact in the near term, he did acknowledge that the business has to offer all of the available ordering capabilities. "We are moving to an on-demand and stay-at-home economy, and we will work to provide our guests with every ordering option available, and furthermore provide our guests with every option to receive our great-tasting Italian dishes," said Howard.
While there is plenty of buzz about voice ordering and other voice-activated services, the technology has yet to take off with the masses. According to a Walker Sands survey conducted in July, only 20 percent of consumers said they used voice shopping, while an additional 33 percent said they plan to try it.
What’s more, despite all the media buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) and connected commerce reshaping the retail world, nearly half of retailers with an online presence are not yet using these tools – and many of them have no plans to start. That’s according to an eCommerce “Performance Indicators and Confidence Report” by SLI Systems, which, on a quarterly basis, surveys more than 200 mid-size retailers in a range of business models to gauge where digital commerce may be moving in the near future.