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01/14/2022

Checkers & Rally’s rolling out automated voice ordering at the drive-thru

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Checkers & Rally’s is streamlining the drive-thru (Photo: Business Wire).

In one of the largest rollouts of the technology, a quick-service restaurant chain is applying artificial intelligence to the drive-thru.

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, operator of Checkers & Rally’s, will roll out Presto automated voice ordering technology to all of its approximately 260 corporate-owned drive-thru restaurants during 2022.

In 2021, Checkers & Rally’s conducted a detailed pilot program of Presto’s automated voice ordering technology at multiple locations over a four-month period. During this time, the retailer found that Presto’s solution delivered a high level of automation and accuracy, with over 98% of drive-thru orders completed with minimal intervention from restaurant employees. Checkers also found that the Presto solution performed well with unique or infrequently ordered menu items, and could manage orders with various customer accents.

Checkers & Rally’s intends to streamline its customer experience while increasing the customer-to-staff ratio in the drive-thru. By deploying Presto, Checkers & Rally’s believes that it can free up staff for more people-dependent areas of the business, and enhance customer interaction overall.

“Checkers & Rally’s is the pioneer of the double drive-thru restaurant model, so our decision to again lead the industry with the largest rollout of an A.I.-based voice assistant solution should be no surprise,” said Frances Allen, president and CEO at Checkers & Rally’s. “We are excited about this new era in partnership with Presto, a leader in the restaurant hospitality technology field. As a company, we embrace technology that will help our team members maximize time and efficiency while making their jobs easier and more enjoyable, creating a better experience for them as well as our guests.”

Quick-service retailers are increasingly focusing innovation efforts on the drive-thru experience. For example, Taco Bell is piloting a store model called “Taco Bell Defy” that offers enhanced drive-thru service for customers who order via mobile app or third-party delivery platform.

Taco Bell Defy features four drive-thru lanes, three of which are dedicated to mobile or delivery order pickups. These three lanes serve to supplement one traditional lane and provide fast, skip-the-line service for customers who order via the Taco Bell app and third-party delivery services.

The Taco Bell Defy concept also features digital check-in screens that allow mobile order customers to scan in their order via a unique QR code, then pull forward to pick up food which will be delivered seamlessly and contactlessly via a proprietary lift system. In addition, two-way audio and video technology enables customers to interact directly with store associates in real time.