Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings is one of the latest restaurants to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
In a Dec. 5 press release, BurgerFi International Inc., the chain’s parent company, said AI phone answering systems are being introduced in each of Anthony’s 60 corporate-owned locations across eight states.
A company spokesperson told NJBIZ that all eight of the chain’s New Jersey restaurants are included in the rollout: Clifton, Edison, Fair Lawn, Livingston, Marlboro, Mount Laurel, Ramsey and Wayne.
According to BurgerFi, the systems will leverage ConverseNow, a leading voice AI tech platform that automates the order-taking process from high volume channels, such as drive-thru and phone. Its systems can be found in more than 1,200 restaurants across 40 states, serving some of the country’s top brands.
Ian Baines, BurgerFi’s chief executive officer, said, “Anthony’s started testing AI two years ago with different vendors. Initially, the technology appeared somewhat inconsistent. However, the longer it runs, the more responsive it becomes as the algorithms learn to react to the customer order and then upsell. With ConverseNow’s technology, Anthony’s is taking the system to the next level for faster service and an improved customer experience.”
According to BurgerFi, off-premises dining accounts for nearly 50% of sales each year, with 15% being phone orders — which the company said is about 500,000 phone orders annually.
The ConverseNow AI system is designed to handle 100% of calls answered and allows for an expected average check increase of 10%-12%. Additionally, customers will be able to seamlessly integrate their loyalty numbers to earn points and rewards when ordering with AI.
John Iannucci, Anthony’s chief operating officer, said, “Anthony’s is constantly exploring innovative strategies and new technologies to stay ahead of evolving consumer preferences as part of our commitment to providing the best guest experience. Phone orders remain a strong sales driver for us, and by introducing ConverseNow’s AI systems, all orders are addressed quickly and efficiently.”
Vinay Shukla, co-founder and chief executive officer of ConverseNow, said, “Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings is a phenomenal business. We are delighted to work with a leading brand in the restaurant industry and help it benefit from technology that allows it to make better use of its human capital while maximizing its delivery and pick up orders generated by its phone and voice channels.”
Partnering with a growing list of multinational and national brands, ConverseNow has helped restaurants boost same-store sales up to 30%, increase the average ticket up to 20%, and provide up to 12 hours of additional labor per store each week, the company said.
In recent years, AI has grown quickly in popularity across the restaurant industry, with several large chains – like McDonald’s and White Castle – adopting the technology to use in drive-thrus, phone ordering systems and even in kitchens to help restock items.
Within the next two to three years, 50% of restaurants in the U.S. plan to implement AI technology as a way to help reduce operating costs, expedite and increase order sizes, and satisfy consumer preferences.