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01/13/2023

Del Taco automates drive-thru voice ordering

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Del Taco
Del Taco is streamlining drive-thru orders with AI technology.

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. is streamlining its drive-thru process with artificial intelligence (AI).

The nation’s second-largest Mexican quick-service restaurant chain is providing customers with automated voice ordering at several drive-thru restaurants nationwide. Del Taco is running the AI-based Presto Voice solution on a 24/7 basis at select store locations.

According to Del Taco, Presto Voice is helping operations by improving labor productivity, increasing upselling, and boosting customer and staff experience. During 2021, Del Taco conducted a test where it used the Presto conversational AI voice assistant to greet customers, accept orders, and offer upsell suggestions. After the solution takes a customer order, it seamlessly sends it to the POS and kitchen display system (“KDS”).

Now, more than 95% of drive-thru orders placed at Del Taco drive-thru stores using Presto Voice are being completed with no staff intervention. The retailer has now decided to start deploying Presto Voice at additional locations nationwide.

“With Del Taco’s desire to build a drive-thru that improves operational efficiency while delivering an elevated guest experience, the Presto A.I.-based voice assistant solution is a natural choice,” said Kevin Pope, VP operations innovation at Del Taco. “The Presto platform and team have exceeded our expectations and we are excited as we prepare to deploy the solution at additional restaurants across the nation.”

“We are excited to be partnering with Del Taco as their drive-thru AI voice automation partner,” said Dan Mosher, chief revenue officer of Presto. “Del Taco’s vision of the future of the drive-thru is inspiring and Presto is the best-positioned automation technology provider to support it.”

Del Taco has approximately 600 locations nationwide, with 99% featuring a drive-thru.

Panera pilots AI at the drive-thru

Another quick-service restaurant chain, Panera Bread, began testing AI technology from OpenCity in drive-thru lanes at select stores in the greater Rochester, N.Y. area in August 2022. The pilot stores, in Greece and Webster, N.Y., have implemented OpenCity’s proprietary voice AI ordering technology, called “Tori”, for drive-thru orders,

Tori is installed at these select locations and takes customer orders as normal at the drive-thru speaker, with Panera associates on standby to assist if needed to troubleshoot any issues. Drive-thru customers can pull up to the Panera drive-thru, place their order as usual with assistance from Tori, and pay a Panera associate at the drive-thru window.

The retailer hopes the addition of this technology at the drive-thru will help to cut down wait times, improve order accuracy, and allow associates to focus on preparing customer orders.