Quick-service restaurants have been piloting different combinations of technology to bring convenience to on-the-go consumers for years. Now, a new platform could make ordering food as simple as telling your car you’re hungry.
BurgerFi is launching in-car ordering through a partnership with Mavi.io OnMyWay, a global retail marketplace that brings shopping options straight to the dashboard of connected vehicles equipped with 5G. The platform connects the car’s interface with restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and more.
The entire process is conducted hands-free through voice. Drivers can simply tell their dashboard what they are looking for, and a list of store recommendations, like BurgerFi, will pop up on the vehicle screen. The platform features menu items, promotions and inventory updates in real-time. For payment, customers are charged automatically through their car interface. The system then directs the customer to the restaurant location for curbside pickup.
The platform also tracks the driver’s location, route and destination, so employees know when to start making the order. It also informs staff of the make/model of the car for pickup.
The process aims to be a faster solution for customers, whether they are on their way to work or home.
“For those with children, it’s a great time saver after picking the kids up from an after-school activity,” said Karl Goodhew, chief technology officer at BurgerFi, in an email Q&A with Food On Demand.
In addition, Goodhew adds that fleets would also be a “huge opportunity” for the burger chain.
“There’s a lot of people out there who drive around for work for long periods of time. Pharmacy reps, sales reps, mechanics, and delivery drivers all want good food without spending too much time getting it,” he said.
BurgerFi marks MAVI’s first restaurant partner, announcing the technology over a year ago, which will be integrated into this year’s car models.
While BurgerFi and MAVI are leaders in the car-commerce space, the pair is not alone in pursuing in-vehicle ordering partnerships.
In 2017 General Motors rolled out an on-dash touchscreen solution called Marketplace for consumers to order food from Starbucks, Wingstop and other places directly from dashboards. The automaker discontinued the system in 2022, however, due to low usage rates and a tech supplier leaving the business. The absence of voice ordering also raised concerns on driver safety. GM said it will likely roll out new services in the future, according to a report by CNBC.
Ford and BMW have integrated Amazon’s Alexa into their latest models for shopping and smart home control, and with autonomous driving on the horizon, there is even further potential to engage passengers.
“We believe this kind of technology will become universal in following years which is why we decided to get in early,” said Goodhew. “However, it will probably take some time to catch on, just like Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth did in their time. While there’s a chance we may not see many customers in year one, this technology will become more pervasive.”