Restaurants Use Voice to Drive New Customer Experiences

voice assistant

As more consumers use voice assistants, restaurants are driving loyalty with frictionless ordering.

The Context

For restaurants, any ordering and payment channel that removes friction from the experience can be key to increasing sales and customer loyalty. As such, voice transactions, where consumers can place their order and pay for their meal just by speaking, present a significant opportunity.

Fast-casual giant Panera Bread, for one, is seizing on this opportunity. The brand announced Wednesday (March 28) that it has begun letting its loyalty membership customers order via Amazon’s Alexa through their Echo Show devices.

“While our guests love the Panera app, we know there are times where it’s just more convenient to be hands-free and order by voice, and we are thrilled to work with Amazon to design and offer another convenient way to order Panera,” George Hanson, the restaurant chain’s chief digital officer, said in a statement. “We’re continuing to push the boundaries of what we can do to make our MyPanera members’ lives easier, and we’re just at the beginning of what is possible in the world of conversational commerce.”

consumers digital activities

Plus, last year, Uber Eats announced an integration with Google Assistant to enable voice ordering via the Uber Eats marketplace.

“For the moments you don’t have an extra hand, we’re bringing you a new way to order your food. We’ve integrated Google Assistant into Uber Eats so you can get your favorite meal, snack, and other necessities simply by using your voice,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a blog post. “Just say ‘OK Google,’ and ask your phone to order a meal from a restaurant on Uber Eats.”

By the Numbers

Research from the latest edition of PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ series, “ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Evolving Digital Daily Edition,” which draws from a February survey of more than 4,000 U.S. consumers, finds that 86 million consumers now use voice assistants each month. Overall, compared to February 2022, 21 million more consumers participated in activities involving some type of smart home device in February 2023, a 31% increase.