TECHNOLOGY

Sonic hears its customers with AI and voice ordering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sonic Drive-in is upgrading the drive-thru experience with artificial intelligence (AI) and voice assistant technology.

The QSR chain, known for roller skating waitresses, plans to leverage an AI-powered voice assistant and personalized dynamic menu solution from Mastercard and self-service kiosk provider Zivelo. At select Sonic locations later this year, consumers arriving at the drive-thru will be prompted to order from the voice ordering assistant, which will integrate with a dynamic menu display.

The menu will automatically update using a proprietary AI solution developed by Mastercard, which will allow the display to be customized either for a specific customer or for external factors such as weather, time of day, seasonality and location. Mastercard built the AI engine on the Zivelo OakOS self-service kiosk software platform.

“We see facets of our brand, our restaurants, and AI technology converging in a way that makes for a special customer experience,” said Jon Dorch, VP of integrated customer engagement, Sonic Drive-In. “Voice AI promises to provide carefree conversational ordering that complements the overall experience. We anticipate AI integration will also provide opportunities to streamline repeat orders, personalize suggestions based on data, and offer rewards that are truly relevant.”

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