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Is Chatbot really the future for small-scale Restaurant/Food outlets? | by Pragnakalp Techlabs | Jun, 2021

Who would have thought a simple tech can integrate your business across platforms like Facebook Messenger, Google Assistant, Website, Telephone, Telegram, SMS, etc. Chatbots have made this possible. Chatbots have been a growing trend for the last few years. Many of us have interacted with a chatbot at some point. As chatbots are getting smarter day by day, it is becoming useful to various industries. Whether you want a chatbot to respond to “life advice” questions in light of the new year or want spiritual guidance for peace of mind or want to book an appointment with the doctor, the chatbot will always grab your attention.

One successful restaurant chain businessman from New York has made a startling statement in its annual report. “We believe the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, combined with other disruptive technologies like a chatbot, will reshape the food industry landscape in the coming years.”

The statement was very crisp and many other players were echoing that statement. So what is it in chatbot which makes it such desirable tech? And is chatbot really the future for small-scale Restaurant/Food outlets? Let us discuss that.

Automation is not an alien for the food industry. In fact, the Food industry has been leveraging automation for many years in terms of scaling production through robots or setting up vending machines or restaurant reservations.

Websites and smartphone applications have gained the bulk of the share of online food ordering systems over the last decade. The not so enjoyable part of ordering food using a website food ordering portal or using the mobile app is, customers have to follow the language of the food ordering portal/mobile portal. Another most annoying part of ordering food through mobile apps is, customers have to carry different apps of respective restaurants/outlets to order food, whereas chatbot lets customers order food in their conventional language just as you order food from a waiter in a restaurant. Also, customers are not required to install so many apps. Chatbot being capable of integrating on different chat channels like Facebook Messenger, Website, Google Assistant, Telegram, SMS, Telephone will allow customers to order food from their preferred chat channels.

We’re seeing chatbots being able to provide a whole variety of assistance. Not only can customers order yummy foods like pizzas, sushi, noodle soup, tacos, salads, and hamburgers all within two minutes but customers can make the reservation or get answers to FAQs. Let’s take the example of Pk Foods.

You can try the website demo here: PK Food Chatbot

PK Foods is a Dialogflow based Food ordering chatbot for restaurants and food outlets. PK Foods helps customers to browse the menu and allows them to place an order of their favorite food. Customers can add or remove items while placing an order. PK foods chatbot can be integrated with Facebook Messenger, Website, Google Assistant, Telegram which help business owners to be present across the platforms. In the coming days, we are also planning to integrate this chatbot with more chat channels like SMS, Telephone, Alexa.

With PK Foods Chatbot customers can choose two delivery options: 1. Home Delivery 2. Store Pickup. Considering this pandemic situation, both these two options become very useful and imperative.

After the customer places an order, PK Foods chatbot sends the order summary to both customer and the Kitchen department via email. In the coming days, we are also planning to integrate a few payment gateways where customers can pay via chatbot itself.

What makes chatbot so desirable

Chatbot is nothing but an AI-based computer program that simulates human conversations. Chatbots are also known as virtual assistants which have the capability of understanding conventional human language. Chatbot interprets and processes the user requests and gives prompt relevant answers.

As each day passes, machines are becoming smarter and customers are increasingly getting more reliant on them. And it is quite spectacular to see more and more people are embracing voice technology like google assistants, Siri and Alexa nowadays. This forces many business owners to make their business available on such platforms. And when you think from a consumer’s perspective, don’t you think it would be great if a customer can order dinner while heading back home in a car rather than going into a restaurant and asking for an order and waiting till your food gets packed? This seems a small thing in a way but it greatly impacts the customer’s experience. There are many more benefits of having a food ordering chatbot like saving human resources, eliminating human error, streamlining the process, and so on.

Chatbots are also increasingly becoming a great marketing tool. Just like Subway, which has introduced its food ordering chatbot, where customers can order sub using Facebook messenger. Subway’s chatbot also allows customers to choose the ingredients. Those tempting images used in chatbots definitely can provoke anyone’s taste buds. Subway can run the Facebook ad either for special festival discounts or for new product launches and users can order the food from the Facebook messenger itself.

Chatbot has the unique capability of engaging the customer, which is a great help not only to the marketing team but it is beneficial to so many aspects of the business, be it in delivering service to customers in a polite manner during a bottleneck situation or gathering feedback regarding food quality, etc. A large number of local players in the food industry are also integrating the chatbot in their existing food ordering system and they are getting benefits in terms of streamlining the activities and reducing the cost. The operating cost of a food ordering chatbot is very minimal. For certain platforms like Facebook messenger and website operating cost is as minimal as zero.

Seeing the trends, Chatbots are going to play a key role in automating the number of repetitive tasks in the coming years. The chatbot offers so many benefits to the company, it is a time when companies should leverage technology.

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