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Voice Technology Will Be As Good As Human

Smartphone image on Creative Commons Wikimedia CommonsHow many of your customers have smartphones? That smartphone technology and its ubiquity is revolutionizing restaurants and hospitality establishments. What's on the edge right now is voice interface.

As reported in the U.K.'s tech journal Campaign, Fernando Fanton, the chief technology officer of Just Eat, a digital food delivery marketplace, explained to 4YFN attendees in Barcelona that for restaurateurs, voice technology will make a brand's app as good as a human when it comes to ordering:

"One of the things we're really excited about that we think will make a difference is voice interface. The problem of having to understand a particular way of communicating will fade away, and the experience will be as natural as going into a restaurant and asking a person, what should I eat today? We are not far away from that reality."

He predicted that "material improvements" in voice interfaces would arrive this year or next – but added that the business was also looking at technological avenues including augmented and virtual reality.

If a smartphone can take a food order for your restaurant in something even approaching what a human can do, think how that would change the front counter, customer throughput rate, drive-thru and your outlet. Think how that might change the operating process. If they are not in your establishment, will customers who order through an app have raised expectations that you should be able to deliver food to them as well? What if voice technology offered way lower order error rates? Or, if understanding Spanish, Chinese or even French wasn't a problem in taking an order for your brand's app?

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email