Speech-enabled Application Delivers Remarkable Accuracy Plus Human-like Interactions with Guests
Toledo, OH (RestaurantNews.com) Marco’s Pizza, one of the nation’s fastest-growing pizza brands, 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. The speech-enabled application uses conversational artificial intelligence (AI) which yielded 100% order accuracy in initial beta testing as well as increased employee and customer satisfaction.
The initial voice-to-order beta test started in Summer 2021 before 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 AI, 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.
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%.
“There are places where AI makes sense within the business – where it creates a better experience for both team members and guests,” said Rick Stanbridge, Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Marco’s Pizza. “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.”
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.
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.
“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,” said Stanbridge.
The 1,000-plus unit brand 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.
The brand continues to grow at a rapid pace, setting a development goal of 1,500 units open by the end of 2023. According to FRANdata, a leading research and advisory firm that analyzes the franchise market, Marco’s 2021 FUND Score is in the top 1% of all evaluated franchise systems and is among the top three scores for all QSR brands. The Top 50% of Marco’s franchised stores generated $1,059,574 AUV for 2020*.
For more information on Marco’s Pizza franchise opportunities, visit https://www.marcos.com/franchising/ or call 866-731-8209.
About Marco’s Pizza
Marco’s Pizza is America’s Most Loved and Most Trusted Pizza Brand, according to the 2019 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study. Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco’s Pizza is one of the fastest-growing pizza brands in the United States. Marco’s was founded in 1978 by Italian-born Pasquale (“Pat”) Giammarco and thrives to deliver a high-quality pizza experience, known for its dough made from scratch and its three fresh signature cheeses. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate over 1,000 stores in 34 states with locations in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Most recently, Marco’s Pizza was ranked No. 2 in the Pizza category on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2022 “Franchise 500” ranking, and No. 4 in the Fastest Growing category on Restaurant Business’ 2021 “Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains” ranking. Other recent accolades include a first-time presence on Newsweek’s 2022 “America’s Best Customer Service” in pizza chains list, ranked No. 42 on QSR’s Top 50 and has been featured five consecutive years on Nation’s Restaurant News’ prestigious “Top 500” ranking.
*Based on the Average Unit Volume of the top 50% of our Franchised Stores for fiscal year 2020. Based on fiscal year 2020, 142 of 369 Franchised Stores in the category (38%) met or exceeded this average. This information appears in Item 19 of our 2021 FDD – please refer to our FDD for complete information on financial performance. Results may differ. There is no assurance that any franchisee will perform as well.
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