Sunday, April 3, 2022

Marco’s Pizza Testing Artificial Intelligence Pizza Ordering

Artificial Intelligence and pizza ordering? Come on nothing is easier to order than pizza right now why is this needed.  In this case at Marco’s Pizza the focus is on consumer-focused hot button touchpoints order accuracy, and speed of service.  According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® restaurants that focus on consumer hot button painful touchpoints and solve them end up garnering incremental top-line sales and bottom-line profits.

So, the voice-to-text initiative is one of many projects Marco’s is embarking on after announcing the investment of millions of dollars in technology innovations through the next few years as it grows to be the fourth largest brand in pizza. Regular readers of this blog know that Gen Z and Millennials are as time starved or more so than their parents and are digital natives and order accuracy is important.

Now that Marco’s Pizza announced a 50-store pilot of its proprietary voice-to-text ordering system with the goal of a systemwide rollout by the end of 2022 customer relevance has been elevated. The new speech-enabled application uses conversational artificial intelligence (AI) which yielded 100 percent order accuracy in initial beta testing as well as increased employee and customer satisfaction. Now have you been doing what you have always done and are you doing it the same way?  How is that working for you?  Is you order accuracy 100%?

The initial voice-to-order beta test was started in Summer 2021 well before the company began moving into the pilot. Designed to provide a seamless interaction with customers, the system receives phone orders via voice and automatically translates the order via text into the point-of-sale system alerting team members to begin filling the order – saving time, decreasing call abandonment rates, and improving speed and order accuracy – all to maximize the customer experience. Unique to this technology is the use of conversational Artificial Intelligence, which simulates a human-like conversation and can convert voice across multiple digital channels and technology platforms. This technology creates a personalized experience for the guest and feels very different from a basic chatbot interaction. The technology understands both English and Spanish as well as a variety of accents, dialects, and colloquialisms. Ok, for those of you who know me, you know that is more than I can do. 

Here is the best part, despite technology advancements, many guests find it easier and more convenient to pick up the phone and place an order. This technology can accommodate those guests and create a much better experience using conversational AI. As Marco’s digital sales continue to soar – tripling over the past four years – the adoption of this technology will play a significant role in growing the brand’s digital presence to its target of 85 percent.

Rick Stanbridge, Sr. Vice president and Chief Information Officer for Marco’s Pizza, stated, “There are places where AI makes sense within the business – where it creates a better experience for both team members and guests,” … “Not only does this technology offer franchisees a cost-effective, practical solution to reduce labor costs and drive results, but it provides support to team members while strengthening the guest experience.”

Now, with the use of this technology, the guest experience is elevated first and foremost, and team members no longer have to deal with the frustrations that come with busy nights when there’s an influx in orders, kitchen noise distractions, and the challenge of juggling multiple tasks. As a People-First organization, Marco’s understands that when team members are satisfied, so are guests.

Going be time into technology, the voice-to-text initiative is one of many projects Marco’s is embarking on after announcing the investment of millions of dollars in technology innovations through the next few years as it grows to be the fourth largest brand in pizza. Such projects include the continued adoption of third-party delivery, in which Marco’s has experienced 610% growth in just two years, utilizing AI for generating automated delivery promise times, vetting and testing robotic kitchen innovations, ghost kitchens, and new operational equipment.

Stanbridge, continued, “There are a lot of technologies on our radar, but our strategy is to hotly pursue those that we can bring to market quickly and will have the biggest impact on customers, team members, and franchisees,”.

In case you did not know Marco’s is a 1,000-plus unit brand; and continues to see record-breaking double-digit same-store-sales increases year-over-year and is on track to reach $1B in annual systemwide sales in 2022. As a result, eager and sophisticated entrepreneurs and multi-unit operators are flocking to the franchise opportunity.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success. 

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