Robots Taking Your Order? Here's How Much AI Technology for Restaurants Will Cost
Kea revealed that it had raised $10 million to improve restaurant performance, especially in taking orders.
The inability to efficiently take orders by phone creates a problem for restaurants and causes them to lose potential sales.
Thankfully, Kea decided to step in to find a possible solution. A startup software company, Kea aims to automate order taking for restaurants by using artificial intelligence.
However, according to WebWire, automating phone ordering with artificial intelligence uses too much automation, which can also be frustrating and sometimes ineffective.
To find a way to fix the broken ordering system, Kea reportedly wants to combine artificial intelligence with human operators to customize phone orders as and when needed.
Related reports from NY Journalism revealed that in order to set its plan in motion, Kea had raised a $10 million Collection A funding led by Marbruck. This comes in with the participation of Chief Technique Officer at Lyft, Raj Kapoor; Founding Crew at Panera Bread, Craig Flom; Wingstop franchisee Tony Lam and 5 Guys franchisee Jonathan Kelly.
Additionally, AVG Funds, Barrel Ventures, DEEP CORE, Heartland Ventures, Xfund, and Streamlined Ventures are also involved.
The Collection A funding will help grow Kea's engineering teams and hire 750 people they need. This strategy is to make sure all AI-assisted calls are handled properly to meet the market demand. This will also help bring Kea's technology to 1,000 restaurants across 37 states by 2021.
Kea's Founder and CEO, Adam Ahmad, says that he decided to dedicate his career to saving the restaurant industry after creating Fluc, the first on-demand food delivery company. This technology is present in Google Shopping. He leads other startups that are interested in addressing labor shortages.
He continued to explain that he realized that the current ordering system was broken when he experienced taking more than 400 phone orders for one of the largest buffalo wing franchises in America. In addition, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants rely heavily on phone and drive-thru orders for revenue.
Kea's impressive record
Kea has already proven its worth by increasing the revenue of around 250 restaurants. These include Primanti Brothers, Papa John's, and Donatos. With Kea, these restaurants were able to increase each order size by an average of 23% and save approximately 10 hours worth of labor a week.
Kea's AI technology is streamlined into any restaurant's pre-installed ordering systems. The technology then learns all restaurant's menu items and inventory. This allows it to do upselling based on the customer's previous orders.
Additionally, it can also make suggestions that either pair well with the new orders or need to be sold to lessen food waste.
Furthermore, the company also hires and trains real people to join the call 20-30% of the time. This ensures that everything is going well and making sure to finish the order-taking process accordingly. Since AI does not always follow complex customization requests, adding the human element is very critical.
Kea has reportedly seen an increase in demand with the nation's top quick-service restaurants in just two years. As a result, Lachlan Clough of Marbruck expressed excitement about being an early investor in Kea, and she says she looks forward to seeing the company's business continue to grow.