How can chatbots play an important role in the food industry?

Do you want a human with that?

Just under two years ago we wrote a blog exploring the rising trend of chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the food industry. Fast forward to 2018 and we find ourselves now living in a digital economy of expectation, one where we don’t want to go out and stand in a queue to order food.

Why choose a chatbot?

Put simply, chatbots can mimic human conversations using technology based on AI. They are often personalised with names and can be seen by customers as an extension of your brand online.
Chatbots allow your real-life staff to work without being interrupted to answer simple questions as these can be directed to your online chatbot. By encouraging customers to place an order with your bot and not wait in a queue, it can increase sales as chatbots can process an unlimited number of orders at any time, day or night.

With many millennials preferring to communicate with a business online instead of over the phone, using a chatbot can help attract a younger audience.

Where can you chat with a chatbot?

Chatbots can be accessed within an app, a business website or on a social media messenger platform. The most popular messenger platform for chatbots is Facebook Messenger. Launched in 2014 and opened to chatbots in 2016, the platform has an estimated 1.2 billion users. That’s a lot of potential customers your bot could be chatting to!

Using chatbots on a messenger platform can help entice occasional customers to become regulars and build brand loyalty if they like your bot. They’re also good for appealing to customers who don’t want to download your app but still want a quick and simple ordering experience.

How do you write the chatbot chit chat?

It’s important to create a well-thought-out content strategy for your chatbot that will work for your brand. First, focus on creating a storyline arc for your chatbot to follow – from initiating opening conversations through to rising action, climax and resolution.

Your copy needs to be engaging, representative of your brand values and tone of voice, and in line with customer expectations. Keep interactions to a maximum of four lines as this helps to reinforce a natural sense of ‘back and forth’ conversation and encourages a customer to interact with every piece of content. To help the conversation feel more natural and less drone-like, programme your chatbot to not only answer questions but ask them back too.

It’s also important to keep your chatbot feeling fresh. Nobody likes a stale bot. Instead, your content strategy should be updated to stay relevant with seasonal campaigns, company promotions and other topical events.

Looking at some top brand’s chatbots

Global chain Starbucks introduced their Barista Bot last year on their app, allowing customers to quickly pre-order and pay for their drinks and skip the queue in-store. The chatbot might even spell your name right on your order!

Photo Chat Bot Guide ©

In the US, supermarket brand Whole Foods launched their recipe bot to help customers decide their shopping list and recipes for the week. By using emojis instead of words, the chatbot speeds up interactions with customers and creates a unique experience with your brand for customers online.
Perhaps one of the best-known influencers for AI in the food industry is Domino’s, who created their pizza-loving chatbot ‘DOM’ in 2014. Today, Domino’s now conducts more than 65 percent of its sales in the U.S. via numerous digital platforms including using DOM.

To the future and beyond

The use of chatbots in fast food outlets and restaurants is having an instrumental impact on the way the industry interacts with customers and processes orders. Chatbots not only speed up interactions, encourage more sales and build brand loyalty, but they also ensure a brand stays current in a diverse and digital market.

With Domino’s DOM currently being tested to answer customer phone calls in America and KFC opening the first AI-only staffed branch in Shanghai, China, chatbots seem here to stay for the food industry with new and exciting possibilities.

If you’re considering introducing a chatbot to your fast food outlet or restaurant business and need a hand creating a content strategy, contact us today to see how we can help.

Posted on June 26th, 2018